Kerala girl harassed by cop to share compensation amount for tribal education and CMDRF

Kerala girl harassed by cop to share compensation amount for tribal education and CMDRF
The high court ordered the state government to pay Rs 1.5 lakh to the eight-year-old girl who was harassed by the cop in public on charges of theft.

The Kerala girl and her father who have been ordered to be paid a compensation by the state government for the humiliation meted out to them by a woman police officer have decided to share the amount for two noble causes.

On Wednesday, a high court bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran ordered the state government to pay Rs 1.5 lakh to the eight-year-old girl who was harassed by the cop in public on charges of theft.

Now, the girl and her father have decided to donate a part of the compensation towards empowering 'adivasi' (tribal) children and another portion will be given to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).

Jayachandran, the father of the minor girl, on Saturday said the amount would be shared for the causes if the government pays them the compensation without challenging the single bench order.

"One portion will be used for my daughter, another portion will be given to the CMDRF and the third portion will be used to empower the adivasi children for educating them," Jayachandran said.

Justice Ramachandran while delivering the judgement said, "We cannot let our daughters grow up in anger so immediate remedial steps must be taken. No one can dispute that her fundamental right under Article 21 to lead a dignified life was violated."

The court granted a compensation of Rs 1,50,000 to the petitioner and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 towards legal expenses in the matter.

The court directed that disciplinary action must be initiated against the police official concerned while clarifying that this does not mean she should be removed from her service.

The girl had approached the Kerala High Court seeking compensation for the trauma she faced due to Rejitha, an official of 'Pink Police', an all-women team that aims at protecting women in public, private and digital spaces.

During the previous hearing, Justice Ramachandran had said it was justified to grant compensation as sought by the petitioner and asked the state government as to how much it was willing to pay her.

The state government replied that it did not intend to pay any compensation as there was no wrong done at all.

The court then asked a top police officer to see the video of the entire sequence of events and posted the case for Wednesday.

In her petition, the girl said that despite several pleas, no action was taken against the woman police official, therefore they moved the court to seek justice and after the trial began, the girl's family said that since they failed to get justice from any quarter, they have rejected the unconditional apology that the erring police official had tendered.

The incident occurred on August 27 when 38-year-old Jayachandran and his daughter were outside their house in the outskirts near Attingal to watch the movement of a huge trailer carrying equipment to the ISRO unit.

Suddenly Rejitha, the woman police official, found her mobile phone missing and accused Jayachandran, who was standing near the police patrol vehicle, of stealing it. She said that he must have given the mobile to his eight-year-old daughter who she thought was his accomplice.

Rejitha publicly humiliated the father and the daughter and threatened to take both of them to the nearby police station which was witnessed by a large crowd.

Later, Rejitha found the mobile phone in the vehicle. The entire sequence of events was filmed by an onlooker, who shared it on social media and it went viral.

On August 31, Jayachandran approached the state Police Chief Anil Kant, seeking action against Rejitha as his daughter was in a state of shock for being publicly humiliated.

Promising action, Kant asked the South zone Inspector General of Police, Harshita Attaluri, to conduct a probe following which Rejitha was transferred.

However, it was found out that Rejitha was transferred to a more convenient location and there was no action taken against her.

Finding no further action in September, the family observed a day-long protest before the Kerala Secretariat protesting inaction against the woman police official. When this went unnoticed, the family approached the high court.

(With inputs from IANS)

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