Delhi to set up 24-hour helpline for protection of inter-caste couples from harassment

Kashish Jain

The Delhi government issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the protection of inter- faith and inter-caste couples from harassment and threat by settling up special cells and a 24-hour helpline numbers to address their grievances. This has also been done to provide assistance and the protection to the distressed couples. The notification about the same was released by the Delhi Government and it read as:
“The Supreme Court in its judgment in a case titled Shakti Vahini Vs UOI had directed the state to create Special cells in every district comprising of the Superintendent of police, the District Social Welfare officers and District AdiDaridar welfare officer to receive petitions/complaints of harassment and threat to couples of inter-caste/interfaith marriages. These special cells shall create a 24-hour helpline to receive and register such complaints and to provide necessary assistance/advice and protection to the couple,”

It also stated:
“Such safe house shall cater to accommodate (i) young bachelor/ bachelorette couples whose relationship is being opposed by their families/local community/Khaps and (ii) young married couples (of an inter-caste or inter-religious or any other marriages being opposed by their families local community/Khaps. Such safe house may be placed under the supervision of the jurisdictional District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police,”

The 181 toll-free women helpline, which is widely used and circulated among the public will also serve as the 24 Hrs helpline for the special cells to receive and register complaints from inter-caste or inter-faith married couples and to provide necessary protection or assistance to the couple. A Gujarat-based interfaith couple took shelter in Delhi following the implementation of the
directions of the Supreme Court in the Shakti Vahini v. UOI case. It relates to providing shelter to inter-faith marriages.

The Home Department of the Government of NCT of Delhi, in a status report, submitted that it has issued an order dated August 28 constituting 15 committees of officers as District Special Cells, co-terminus with Police Districts in Delhi.

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