Jagratha Samithis
   
 

Action Against Culprits by Police

   
  Malayalam Version
   
  GRIEVANCE 
REDRESSAL
   
   
 
   
   

HELPLINE AGAINST ATROCITIES ON WOMEN

 I   Kerala State  Women’s Commission (KWC)

Kerala State Women's Commission was established in 1996 as a statutory body constituted under Kerala Women's Commission Act 1990 (Act 17 of 1995) as per GO (P) No.9/96/SWD dated 14-3-96 with the objective of improving the status of women in Kerala and to enquire into unfair practices against women. There is more visibility on violence against women after the formation and functioning of the commission as women get a space to come out and complaint about the violence whether it is domestic violence, harassment at work place or other kinds of atrocities against them. In the first 4 years itself, it has received about 30,000 complaints. The nature of complaints showed that majority of them relate to harassment of women, harassment by husband, dowry harassment, and neigbours’ nuisance.

Q1. How can I file a petition to the Commission?

Petitions can be submitted to the Commission on white paper, either written or typed giving the full postal addresses of the petitioner and respondents.

Q2. Is it necessary to affix court fee stamp in the petition submitted?

There is no need for affixing court fee stamp or remitting fee for filing a petition with the Commission.

Q3. What is the number of copies of the petition to be submitted?

Copies of the petition to be submitted depend on the number of addresses of respondents.

Q4. Is it necessary to have the legal assistance of an advocate for filing the petition?

Service of an advocate is not entertained for filing a petition in the commission.

Q5. Can I approach the Commission for getting solution in a civil case?

No. Petitions having a civil nature are not considered in the Commission.

Q6. Are petitions by men accepted in the Commission?

In exceptional cases, petitions by men for family re-union are accepted in the Commission.

Q7. Is petitions not involving harassment of women or any issues related to women entertained in the Commission?

No. Such general petitions not involving any issue of women are not entertained in the Commission.

Q8. Can I approach the Commission for getting Divorce from my husband?

As such the Kerala Women's Commission does not accept any petition for divorce. But in some rare cases, it may be necessary for the wife to get relief from her husband through divorce; in such cases Commission may suggest them to file a case for divorce in the court.

Q9. Is the Commission providing legal aid to the affected women ?

Kerala Women's Commission provides legal aid through KELSA (Kerala State Legal Services authority) in Kochi and through DLSA (District Legal Services Authority)

Q10. Is the Commission providing financial assistance for conducting DNA test to solve disputed paternity?

Disputed paternity is quite often found in the petitions received in the Commission. In a majority of the cases, due to financial difficulties, the petitioners find it difficult to go for a DNA Test to prove their claim. The Commission conducts, at its own expense, DNA Tests in respect of petitioners below the poverty line and also for petitioners belonging to the SC & ST. With the financial assistance from the Commission, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Bio- technology conducts such tests for Rs. 20,000/- per test.

Q11. What are the formalities to be satisfied for conducting DNA tests at the expense of the Commission?

The Commission conducts all DNA Tests in respect of SC & ST petitioners at its own expense devoid of any economic criteria. They only have to submit a Community Certificate from the Tahsildar proving the same. However, in the case of petitioners other than those belonging to SC & ST, they should be Below Poverty Line (BPL) and should submit a certificate from the Tahsildar stating their economic background.

Q12. Is there any provision for counseling in the Women's Commission?

The Commission is providing the services of counselors at its office and in the course of its petition redressal activities conducted at various districts.

Q13. Is the Commission providing any financial assistance to women for starting business enterprises?

No. The Commission does not provide such services. The Kerala State Women's Development Corporation is expected to perform such services for the needy women.

Q14. What are the functions of the Commission ?

The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions viz.
• Inquire into any unfair practice, take decision thereon and to recommend to the Government the action to be taken in that matter.
• Cause investigations to be made by the Director on issues of importance concerning women and issues concerning unfair practice and to report thereon to the Government on the corrective measures to be taken
• Submit to the Government annual reports on
• The lacunae, inadequacies, or shortcomings in the laws in force which affect the constitutional right to equality and fair treatment of women and also on the remedial legislative measures to be taken to meet the situation
• The monitoring of the working of laws in force concerning women with a view to identifying the areas where the enforcement of laws is not adequately effective or has not been streamlined and recommending executive or legislative measures to be taken
• Monitoring the recruitments made to State Public Services and State Public Undertakings and promotions within the said services and scrutinising the rules and regulations governing such recruitments and promotions with a view to reporting to the government action, if any, required to guarantee equal opportunity to women in the matter of such recruitments and promotions
• (a) inspect or cause to be inspected, by the Director or any officer of the Commission authorised by the Commission in that behalf, prisons, police stations, lock-ups, sub-jails, rescue homes or other places of custody where women are kept as prisoners or otherwise, or shelters for women or other places run by the Government or any of its agencies including agencies receiving aid from the Government for the purpose of offering rescue or shelter to women, or hostels intended for women or girls run by any person and such other places wherein unfair practice to women is complained of and cause further inquiries to be made about the treatment that women and girls are subjected to at such places and to report to the Government for taking remedial action.
• (b) In cases where the Commission is of the view that any public servant has been grossly negligent or grossly indifferent in regard to the discharge of his duties in relation to the protection of the interests of women recommend to the concerned disciplinary authority to initiate disciplinary action Recommend to Government, the welfare measures to be adopted and implemented by the Government with a view to ameliorating the conditions of women; (vi) Formulate a comprehensive and affirmative scheme for securing equal opportunities to women and devise a programme for implementing such scheme which shall be forwarded to the Government for approval and on obtaining approval thereof with or without modifications, implement the same
• Empower the Director to recommend to the appropriate authority to take prosecution proceedings in respect of offences committed against women under any statute providing for penalty for violation of the provisions of such statute
• Maintain comprehensive Data Bank relating to the social economic and political conditions of women including comparative study, updating the same from time to time making available such data for use in actions for vindication of the rights of women
• Recommend to government to initiate legislation for removal of discrimination in the case of inheritance, guardianship, adoption and divorce or for matters relating to the safeguarding of the dignity of women and the honour of motherhood
• Call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women and identify the constraints so as to recommend strategies for their removal
• Participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of women
• Fund litigation involving issues affecting a large body of women
• Make periodical reports to the Government on any matter pertaining to women and in particular various difficulties under which women toil
• Undertake promotional and educational research so as to suggest ways of ensuring due representation of women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for impeding their advancement, such as, lack of access to housing and basic services, inadequate support services and technologies for, reducing drudgery and occupational health hazards and for increasing their productivity
• Any other matter, which may be referred to it by the Government.

Q15. Is the Commission providing financial assistance to women in distress ?

Yes, the Commission provides financial assistance to women in distress. Payments are made from the Distress Relief Fund of the Commission. The fund, which is solely maintained by donations from the public, has been constituted with the aim to provide financial assistance to women in distress. Since poor and helpless women of the society are the main beneficiaries of this fund, the public is urged to contribute generously to this fund.

Q16. Is the Commission providing shelter to women ?

The Commission is running a Short Stay Home at Thiruvananthapuram which provides temporary shelter to women in distress who are unable to return to their homes fearing cruelty and harassment. The Commission provides temporary refuge to such women during the pendency of their cases before the Commission

II. Jagratha Samithis


With a view to protect the rights of women in the State and for the redressal of atrocities against women, the Govt. of Kerala has constituted District Samithis and Jagratha Samithis in all districts and Panchayats in the State of Kerala.

The Jagratha Samithis are a voluntary vigilant group of citizens which act as the eyes and ears of the Kerala Women's Commission. They should play a major role in the prevention of crimes. For instance, if there is any indication of a place being utilized for immoral and illegal purposes; or if any child has been abducted, kidnapped; or if any woman has been forced into prostitution; or cases off violence due to alcoholism, it shall be the duty of the Jagratha Samithi to take up the issue and settle it at the local Panchayat level itself. If the issues require assistance from higher authorities then the Jagratha Samithis should take up the matters at the District Samithi level headed by the District Collector. If at the District Samithi level also the matter has not been settled, then it should be brought to the notice of the Kerala Women's Commission.

Constitution of the Samithis
District Samithis have been constituted with the following members:
1. District Collector  - Chairman
2. District Panchayat - President Membe
3. Revenue Divisional Officer -do-
4. District Superintendent of Police/ City Police Commissioner -do-
5. Corporation Mayor/ Municipal Chairman -do-
6. One Lady Lawyer -do-
7. One Woman Social Welfare worker or Councillor belonging to the SC/ST community -do-
8. District Social Welfare Officer - Convener

Constitution of Jagratha Samithis for Panchayats/ Municipal/ Corporation is as follows:
1. Panchayat President/ Municipal Chairman/ Chairman Corporation Mayor
2. Circle Inspector/ Sub Inspector Member
3. One Woman Panchayat Member/ Councillor -do-
4. One Lady Lawyer -do-
5. One Woman Social Welfare worker or Councillor -do- belonging to the SC/ST community
6. ICDS Supervisor (selected by the Convener District Social Welfare Officer)

III. Action Against Culprits by Police

All districts (14 Nos.) have Women’s Cell and Vanitha Police Stations to look into the grievances of women, regarding harassment against them, neglect, desertion, non- recognition of their rights and even family discords.

 

Women’s Cell in Police Station

A State Women Cell is functioning at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. A Lady Superintendent of Police is the head of the State Women Cell. In addition to this, District Women Cells are also functioning in all Police Districts in Kerala, each headed by a Woman Circle Inspector. They look into the grievances of Women, particularly, harassment against women, neglect, desertion, not recognizing her rights, and even family discords, etc. The Cells are tasked to uphold the right and dignity of Women, and, in appropriate circumstances, register cases against culprits. The Women Cells comprise of Women Officers only. Shortly, the Women Police Constables in such Cells will be provided with scooters for increasing their mobility. Women approach such Cells without any hesitation and fear, and receive free of cost counselling, on various matters. Many-a-time the Women Cells act as interveners and help Women compromise family problems, discords, etc.

In Kerala, there are 17 women cells functioning effectively to fight the atrocities against women in Kerala. Three districts with the metropolises of Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode have two cells each and the rest of the districts one cell each.

 

Women Desks in Police Stations

Women Desks have been set up in most of the Police Stations of the State, since February 2006, under the charge of Women Police personnel, with an aim to help Women and Children seeking Police help, which they can do without any fear or inhibitions. Cases of atrocities against Women and Children, and harassment of women at home, work places or in public places, come under the purview of the Women Desks. These have proved to be extremely successful.

The Womens Desk in a Police Station is under the control of a WHC/WPC who listens to the complaints patiently and sympathetically, and takes the matter to higher authorities wherever necessary. The Women Desk also provides adequate and proper information to the Women and Children approaching them on various issues relating to the Police work. The Womens Desk is functioning during daytime ie. from 8 AM to 6 PM on all days. This system has been found to be a great success in redressing the grievances of the needy Women and Children.

Petition or grievances can be submitted to the police officers listed below :

  1. Commissioner of Police, Thiruvananthapuram City, Thiruvananthapuram
  2. Commissioner of Police, Thiruvananthapuram Rural, Thiruvananthapruam
  3. Commissioner of Police, Kochi City, Kochi
  4. Commissioner of Police, Kochi Rural, Kochi
  5. Commissioner of Police, Kozhikode City, Kozhikode
  6. Commissioner of Police, Kozhikode Rural, Kozhikode
  7. Superintendent of Police of all districts except Trivandrum, Kochi, Kozhikode
  8. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Trivandrum
  9. Circle Inspector, Vanitha Cell (Concerned districts)
  10. Sub Inspector, Vanitha Police Station (Concerned districts)
  11. State Vanitha Cell, Michin Road, Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum
  12. Public Window Cell, Police Headquarters, Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum

 

How to submit a petition to a women’s cell/Police office?

Petition can be submitted on a white paper either written or typed giving full postal address of the petitioner and respondents. It can also be submitted by post.

 

Important Telephone Numbers

State Vanitha Cell (TVM)                        : 0471-2338100
Vanitha Police Station, Trivandrum           : 0471-2321555
Women’s Cell, Kollam                              : 0474-2742376
Women’s Cell, Pathanamthitta               : 0468-2222927
Women’s Cell, Kottayam                        : 0481-2302977
Women’s Cell, Idukki                             : 9745-769386                       
Women’s Cell, Kochi                              :0484-2396730
Women’s Cell, Thrissur                        :   9745-796230
Women’s Cell, Palakkad                        :  0491-2522340
Women’s Cell, Malappuram                     : 9745-769151
Women’s Cell, Kozhikode                        : 0495-2724070
Women’s Cell, Wayanad                     :  9745-769072
Women’s Cell, Kannur                        :      9745-769032

 

Vanitha Helpline Number of Kerala Police    :  9995399953

Police Control Room (For All Districts)            :   100
Alert Control                        :                       1090

The Jurisdiction of a Women’s cell/ State Vanitha Cell consists in bringing about rapprochement between the petitioner and respondent if the offences are not of a serious nature and in referring the complaint to a police station for registering a case, if the offences involved are cognizable.

 

 

 

 

 

Designed & Maintained by: C-DIT, Thiruvananthapuram, www.cdit.org
for Public Relations Department, Govt. of Kerala.