The Kerala High Court on Monday said that a woman cop’s behaviour – who stopped a father and daughter, accusing them of stealing her phone – indicated “pure ego and arrogance of the khaki”.
Justice Devan Ramachandran, after playing an around five minute long video of the incident, said that the girl could be seen crying right from the start, but the officer was not moved at all and instead she was blocking the father and daughter.
The court said that being a woman and a mother, the officer should have been moved by the tears and should have consoled the child.
“The visuals are disturbing. It has moved me. The girl was crying throughout. She was terrified. Any child would be when their father is being accused, that too by police. They are from a vulnerable section of society.
“It could have been handled in a better manner. She (officer) should have bent down and apologised to the child and bought her a chocolate and things would have been over there and then. Instead, she justified her actions. It is not lack of wisdom, it is pure ego and arrogance. Khaki ego and arrogance,” Justice Ramachandran said.
“What kind of pink police is this that no one went near the child when she started crying? Why do we need such a pink police?” the court asked.
The court said it was conduct of this sort by the police due to which “people go and commit suicide”, in an apparent reference to the recent suicide by a third-year law student after a police officer allegedly misbehaved with her when she went to the station in connection with a dowry harassment and domestic violence case.
The court went on to ask the police whether the child in the instant matter would ever trust any officer in the future.
It noted that the child was said to be suffering from severe emotional and psychiatric distress as an outcome of the incident on August 27 and sought a report, in a sealed cover, regarding the treatment she was undergoing.
The court also asked the State Police Chief to “devote his attention” to the issue and file a report, since till now statements of the father and daughter have not been taken.
It also directed that the transfer order of the pink police officer and the materials relied upon for taking the decision be placed before the court by the next date of hearing on December 7.
After dictating the order, the court observed that the issue could have been resolved on the date of incident itself had the officer apologised.
Instead, now the entire police force was trying to justify her actions, the court added.
“You cannot justify it. When in uniform, your (police) responsibility is a million times more. I have been repeatedly saying that police have to be friends, they have to be protectors.
“In civilised parts of the world, children are told to go to the police when they have a problem. Will this child ever go to the police? The lady officer did not stop even after the child started crying. Why did her heart not melt? She was all about — phone, phone, phone. In a western nation, she would have been facing a lawsuit for millions,” the court said.
“Even a hijacker lets kids go, but she was blocking the father and daughter,” it further said and added that the police have “made a mountain out of a molehill”.
It was the carelessness of the woman pink police officer which led to the confusion and she should have taken care of her own phone, the court also said.
The court was hearing a plea filed by the eight-year-old girl, seeking a direction to the government to take stern action against the officer for infringing her fundamental right.
The petitioner has also sought ₹ 50 lakh from the government as compensation for the humiliating incident.
The incident occurred on August 27 when Attingal resident Jayachandran reached Moonumukku with his eight-year-old daughter, who wanted to watch the movement of a massive cargo to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thumba.
Rajitha, a woman police officer attached to the Pink police, was deployed to assist in traffic regulation and she accused the duo of stealing her mobile phone that was kept in the police vehicle.
In a video which went viral, the officer and her colleague were seen harassing the father and the daughter and even frisking him. The child broke down amid their harassment.
However, when an onlooker dialed the number of the officer, the mobile phone was found in the police vehicle, following which the police team left the scene without even tendering an apology to the father and the daughter.
As part of a disciplinary action, the woman officer was transferred and the State police chief directed her to undergo behavioural training.