Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 29 June 2022 6.18 PM IST

Sexual harassment complaints must be acted upon within hours: High Court


KOCHI: The High Court on Monday directed that if women and children, who are victims of sexual harassment, lodge a complaint, police should take further action within an hour. Justice Devan Ramachandran issued the interim order along with guidelines on a petition filed by a young woman victim who alleged that the investigating officers were trying to sabotage the case.

The High Court opined that a toll-free number to lodge a complaint was needed first and that many of the existing procedures are sleeping on paper. The toll-free number 112 for victims of torture should be promoted. Such a complaint should be registered as soon as the police toll-free number 100 or 112 is received. Upon receipt of such a complaint to the police toll-free number 100 or 112, it must be registered. The High Court also issued various guidelines for filing complaints and following up on complaints.

Other instructions

  • The complaint should be forwarded to the concerned police station or control room as soon as it is received
  • Trained people should be assigned to handle calls to the toll-free number
  • The police should contact the victim directly or by phone within an hour of receiving the complaint
  • The victim should not be summoned to the station. The officer in charge should register the FIR
  • The statement should be recorded at the victim's home or any other location at her request
  • The victim's parents, close relatives or social workers should be present while recording the statement.
  • The Victim Liaison Officer must be assigned within 24 hours to ensure support and protection for the victim.
  • The number of the Victim Right Center or One Stop Crisis Center should be given to resolve the victim's mental problems.
  • Victims should be able to contact these centers 24 hours a day
  • Such centers should also provide legal assistance if needed
  • Such assistance should continue until the trial is over.
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