Here are some judgments extracts from Delhi High court giving useful information about the powers and procedures of Crime Against Women (CAW) Cells. The interesting thing is that in all judgments the high court says that CAW is supposed to do reconciliation. Well in that case they should change the name to something else. Because implicitly a complaint in CAW cell will be treated as crime done by someone against a woman (read wife). After all it is all there in the name.
Main points from each judgment are covered in separate sections below:
CAW cell meant to safeguard marriage so FIR should not be registered immediately – Delhi High Court – 2002
In Raj Kumar Khanna v. The State (NCT of Delhi) and Ors.; 2002 (1) JCC 327, The Hon’ble Delhi High Court has held that Police Headquarter framed the procedure to be followed by the C.A.W. Cell with the intention of preventing abuse of the process of law but in this case police committed abuse of the process established by its Commissioner. No attempt was made to resolve the difference between the spouses or no efforts were made to bring about amicable settlement for which purpose Crime against Women Cell was created. This cell is meant to safeguard the marriage and not to ruin it by registering case immediately on the asking of the complainant. Once an FIR is registered it becomes difficult to solve matrimonial tangles and things reach such a pass that it cannot be restored back.
CAW cell cannot investigate and examine evidence – Delhi High Court – 2007
In Crl. M. No.9052/2007 and W.P. (Crl.)1045/2007, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 13/8/2007 has held that this petition has been filed by the petitioner with a prayer that the conversation recorded by the petitioner between his father and the father of the respondent should be heard by the CAW Cell and should be made part of the investigation. The Hon’ble Court has held that it considers that CAW Cell has no power to investigate the crime. It is not a police station where First Information Reports get registered. Investigation in any crime can be done only after registration of FIR. CAW Cell only makes reconciliatory efforts between the parties that also up to the stage of pre- registration of FIR. The investigation can also be done by CAW Cell if it is referred to it after registration of FIR. Since no FIR has been registered in this case, no directions can be given to CAW Cell for investigation. The petition is infructuous and is hereby dismissed.
CAW Cell is only a conciliatory body, cannot compel persons to appear before it – Delhi High Court – 2007
In W.P. (Crl.) No.1032/2007 and Crl.M.A.No. 8989/07 on 10.8.2007, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has again held that It is stated by the counsel for petitioner that CAW Cell was threatening the petitioner for appearance. It is made clear that CAW Cell has no authority to secure the presence of any person either by coercion or by threat. CAW Cell is only a conciliatory body where efforts are made for conciliation with the free will of the parties. If any person is not willing to go to CAW Cell, he cannot be compelled. It is also directed that CAW Cell, in future, instead of issuing summons to the parties it shall send request letters asking them to appear for the purpose of conciliation and not for the purpose of investigation. The petitioner is at liberty not to appear before CAW Cell. No threat or coercive steps shall be taken by the CAW Cell. No further direction can be given by the Court in respect of respondent No. 5, who according to the petitioner has refused to accompany him. It is alleged that she was living under the influence of her parents. Earlier when she appeared in this Court, she was living with the petitioner. She refused to meet her parents at that time. If the respondent is such an immature lady that when she comes under the influence of petitioner, she refuses to meet her parents and next time when she comes under the influence of her parents, she refuses to meet the petitioner, the Court cannot help the petitioner. The petition is disposed of in above terms.
CAW Cell can recommend Closure Report if no merit found in wife’s complaint – Delhi High Court – 2007
The Hon’ble Delhi High Court has held State. Crl.M. A. No. 8813/07 in W.P.(Crl.) No. 1009/2007. The parties were referred to CAW Cell where CAW Cell after making enquiries, came to the conclusion that it was not a case of cruelty or harassment on the part of the husband. The CAW Cell recommended a Closure Report saying that no case is made out against the husband or family of the husband. After this recommendation, respondent no. 2 made an application under Section 156(3) before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate. Learned Metropolitan Magistrate without giving any reason as to why he considered that a case was made out, ordered for registration of an FIR. I consider that it is a fit case where operation of the order can be stayed. The operation of the order dated 3rd August, 2007 wrongly mentioned as dated 30th July, 2007 is stayed. Trial Court record be called.
Finally, I suggest to take this Quiz on CAW Cell/Mahila Thana Procedures and Counselling to cement your understanding of points in this article, and other practical knowledge about how to deal with CAW cells and Mahila Thana as an accused husband.