Protect children’s rights during raids: panel

Suggests including women officers in inspection teams

Investigation agencies including the Police and the Excise Department should take care to protect the rights of children while carrying out inspections and raids, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights said on Monday.

The Commission has directed the Home Secretary, State Police Chief, and the Excise Commissioner to issue guidelines that should be followed by officials when carrying out inspections on premises where children are present.

A Commission division bench consisting of members K. Nazeer Chaliyam and Babitha Balraj issued the order on a complaint filed by C. J. Shibu of Sultan Bathery alleging lapses on the part of the Circle Inspector, Meenangadi, while inspecting an house where only children were present.

Officers should ensure the presence of adults known to the children when the inspections are conducted, the Commission noted. Care should be taken to avoid frightening the children. The presence of women officers also should be ensured in the inspection teams in such cases, the Commission said.

During prolonged raids, food should be made available to the children. Their study materials/equipment should be taken into custody only if it is unavoidable to the investigation. If the parents are taken into custody, close relatives or the legal guardian and the District Child Welfare Committee should be informed, the Commission said. The aforementioned conditions should be included in the guidelines, the Commission said.

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