CUSTODY OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

A woman who has been taken into custody has to be kept in a separate lock up in the police station and any examination or body search must be conducted by a woman officer or doctor.

Under the general law, children under the age of 7 years cannot be accused of a crime, hence cannot be taken into police custody. However, the procedure for questioning, apprehension, custody, release and bail of children up to the age of 18 is all governed by the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Act of 2002.

It states that each police station must have a juvenile police unit with specially trained officers. A child must not be kept in lockup at all, but instead must be immediately handed back to the parents on bail and assurances. If the parents are not available, or it is felt that the child is at risk of falling into bad company then the child must be sent to the local observation home till he/she is brought before the juvenile court. 

It is in the best interests of the police officers themselves to make sure that all procedures relating to women are carefully followed and are recorded meticulously, as by law, if a woman in custody complains of rape it will be accepted unequivocally, unless the police officer can prove without any doubt that it did not take place.

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