Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday took note of a news report about alleged harassment of a Delhi-origin couple, who migrated to Kochi 11 years ago, by police officials who allegedly demanded Rs five lakh from them for releasing their daughters who were traced from the national capital after they ran away from home.
"If it (allegations) is true, it is a serious matter. This is a dangerous game," Justice Devan Ramachandran said after the newspaper report was mentioned before the court by a lawyer.
The court ordered the high court registry to take the newspaper report on record and obtain instructions from the Chief Justice "for registering a suo motu petition."
A suo motu petition is registered when the court decides to take up on its own any issue which has come to its attention or was brought to it notice by someone via a letter or news reports.
The court directed that the petition be registered quickly as the family was not from Kerala originally and to ensure there is no travesty of justice in the instant matter.
It also called for a report about the whole matter from the Commissioner of Police, Kochi and directed the officer to ensure the family was not subjected to any more harassment.
According to the newspaper report, the eldest daughter of the couple, parents to five children, ran away from home to meet her online boyfriend whom she met after a smartphone was bought for her to attend online classes.
The girl also took her younger sister and Rs 35,000 when she ran away and when the parents found the daughters missing, they lodged a complaint with Ernakulam North police station immediately, it has said.
Kochi Police, thereafter, informed the couple that the girls left for Delhi via train and asked them to trace their children on their own, the news report has said and added that the parents visited many places with the help of Delhi and Haryana police in search of the girls.
Kochi police assisted the inquiry by only giving the location of the mobile phone, the news report has said.
Thereafter, Delhi Police asked Kochi Police to reach the national capital for investigation and the family had to pay for the air travel expenses and accommodation of the Kochi Police officers, the news report has said.
Delhi police traced the girls along with two men -- named Faizan and Subair -- in the national capital and it was found that they had allegedly raped the elder girl, the news report said.
After returning to Kerala, with the girls and one of the accused -- Subair -- the Kochi Police allegedly refused to release the children into the parents' custody and demanded Rs five lakh from them or that they marry the elder girl to the accused.
When the alleged demands of the police were not met by the parents, the couple's elder sons were arrested for allegedly molesting the two girls and even their younger son -- a class 8 student -- was also called to the police station for questioning, the news report has stated.
The ASI, who arrested the couple's sons, told the newspaper that the action was taken based on the elder daughter's statement that she fled home as her brothers abused her.
The officer, according to the newspaper, also said that only one of the two men were arrested as only he had allegedly raped the girl.