POWERS AND PROCEDURE OF DELHI CAW CELL (CRIME AGAINST WOMEN CELL)

  1. In Delhi (CAW Cell) Crime Against Women Cell was established in 1983, under section 19 of the Delhi Police Act.
  2. After receiving a complaint from women, CAW cell examines the alleged offences, provide the assistance in reconciliation and prevents the miscarriage of justice, instead of straightaway registering the FIRs on complaints lodged by women.
  3. The first step in the CAW cell process is the counseling of the wife on the day when she visits the cell with her complaint. The Police Authorities tell her rights and limitations, and the rights and limitations of the husband, and the path that will be followed during the whole process. The wife gives her complaint in writing to the department at this point of time. The complaint is referred to the legal cell of the CAW cell. The legal cell goes through the complaint and makes its recommendations. Generally the complaint will be proceeded upon by the CAW cell.
  4. After the recommendations of legal cell, the complaint is forwarded again to the DCP who is in-charge of the CAW cell and an enquiry officer is appointed by the department.
  5. The enquiry officer will send the summons to the parties for appearance on the date and time mentioned in the summons.
  6. In the Matter of X Versus The State (NCT of Delhi) and Ors. 2002 (1) JCC 327, the Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has observed as under:-

… 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 X and Y nor 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 reaches such a pass that it cannot be restored back……

  1. In the matter of X Versus State (Govt. of NCT Delhi) dated July 27, 2006 the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has held that :-

The creation of CAW Cells for investigation of crime pertaining to women-does not cause any discrimination on the basis of sex -The CAW Cells have been constituted with a social purpose so that the crimes relating to women are dealt with sensitivity. CAW Cell is like any other specialized wing of the Delhi Police like Special Cell, Crime Branch, etc., where firstly an attempt is made to bring about unity between the two spouses so as to make the marriage a success. On the failure of these reconciliation attempts, the law is allowed to take its course. Thus no fault can be found with the creation of CAW Cells. (Para 7).

  1. That in W.P. (Crl.) No.1032/2007 and Crl.M.A.No. 8989/07 the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 10.08.2007 has held that the 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 further held that CAW Cell, in future, instead of issuing summons to the parties shall send request letters asking them to appear for the purpose of conciliation and not for the purpose of investigation.
  2. That in Crl. M. No.9052/2007 and W.P. (Crl.)1045/2007 the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 13.08.2007 has held that the CAW Cell has no power to investigate the crime. It is not a police station where FIRs are 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.
  3. Lastly when the conciliation and mediation process fails the enquiry officer forwards the complaint for registering the FIR.
  1. That after registration of FIR the principal laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme court of India in the matter of Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar dated 2 July 2014 comes into picture which is as follows:-

Supreme Court of India-Code of Criminal Procedure Section 41 – Indian Penal Code Section 498-A and Dowry Prohibition Act Section 4- Anticipatory bail against arrest – provisions are used as weapons rather than tool of law – attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest is despicable – it has become a handy tool to the police officers who lack sensitivity or act with oblique motive – if the provisions of Section 41, Cr.PC which authorises the police officer to arrest an accused without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant are scrupulously enforced, the wrong committed by the police officers intentionally or unwittingly would be reversed and the number of cases which come to the Court for grant of anticipatory bail will substantially reduce therefore the following directions are being issued:-

(1) All the State Governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down above flowing from Section 41, CrPC;

(2) All police officers be provided with a check list containing specified sub-clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii);

(3) The police officer shall forward the check list duly filed and furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest, while forwarding/producing the accused before the Magistrate for further detention;

(4) The Magistrate while authorising detention of the accused shall peruse the report furnished by the police officer in terms aforesaid and only after recording its satisfaction, the Magistrate will authorise detention;

(5) The decision not to arrest an accused, be forwarded to the Magistrate within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case with a copy to the Magistrate which may be extended by the Superintendent of police of the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

(6) Notice of appearance in terms of Section 41A of CrPC be served on the accused within two weeks from the date of institution of the case, which may be extended by the Superintendent of Police of the District for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

(7) Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart from rendering the police officers concerned liable for departmental action, they shall also be liable to be punished for contempt of court to be instituted before High Court having territorial jurisdiction.

(8) Authorising detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court.

That the directions aforesaid shall not only apply to the cases under Section 498-A of the I.P.C. or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the case in hand, but also such cases where offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years; whether with or without fine.

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Advocate Amaresh Singh

Advocate Amaresh Singh is a lawyer practicing in Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court and various District Courts including Saket Court, Tis Hazari Court, Karkardooma Court, Patiala House Court and Dwarka Court. (M) 9999678571

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