The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has blasted the Mumbai police for its callousness owing to which a mother could not perform the final rites of her missing daughter, later found dead. Lack of efforts on the part of local Kurla police, to which the complaint was filed, and the Navi Mumbai police that later found girl's dead body, to coordinate with each other, deprived the family members from performing the last rites as per customs.
The Commission has now directed the police to ensure that all unidentified dead bodies and missing complaints be informed to central control room (CCR) for better coordination in future. The govt has also been asked to compensate the aggrieved mother.
"In my view and the established norms, the best way of finding identity, especially in the vast area of Mumbai and surrounding areas, was to report to the CCR, which in turn could have inquired and found about the identity of the person, especially when there is a missing complaint lodged almost one month prior to the finding of the dead body. It is here I find failure on the part of the police machinery in not taking proper steps to establish the identity of the dead body found, depriving the mother to even see her daughter's body and perform the final rites," noted Justice SR Bannurmath, chairperson of the SHRC, in an order passed early this year.
As per the complaint filed by Surekha A Gaikwad, a resident of Kurla, her 21-year-old daughter went missing from the house on August 15, 2013. After searching with the relatives, Gaikwad filed a complaint with the local police station but did not hear anything, despite repeated visits. It was only in the month of October 2013 she learned that her daughter's body was found by Vashi police on the same day itself. But due to lack of interest shown by the local police, the body could not be traced. However, in its defence, the Vashi police said that it had put up posters of the girl's body in nearby areas and performed final rites after waiting for a month.
The court order notes that while the Vashi police did try to contact nearby police stations, it did not check for missing complaints information thoroughly. The complainant has been awarded a compensation amount of Rs1 lakh.