Mahila Cell CAW role

Crime Against Women Cell mostly referred to as CAW Cell, is also known as Mahila Thana or Parivar Pramarsh Kender in various States in India. The primary job of these cells is to bring about reconciliation between the warning couple. Mostly now a days in Dowry Harassment cases also known as 498A cases or Domestic Violence Cases. CAW Cells are trying to bring about reconciliation between the parties. In Delhi First CAW Cell was established in 1983 at Nanakpura Under Section 19 of Delhi Police Act, 1978.

As per the judgements of the Delhi High Court it was held that CAW Cells can only make reconciliatory efforts between the parties that also up to the stage of pre-registration of FIR. Here are some judgments extracts from Delhi High court giving useful information about the powers and procedures of Crime Against Women (CAW) Cells.  The interesting thing is that in all judgments the high court says that CAW is supposed to do reconciliation.  Well in that case they should change the name to something else.  Because implicitly a complaint in CAW cell will be treated as crime done by someone against a woman (read wife).  After all it is all there in the name. The judgments are as follows:

  1. Raj Kumar Khanna v. The State (NCT of Delhi) and Ors.; 2002 (1) JCC 327
  2. W.P. (Crl.) No.1032/2007 and Crl.M.A.No. 8989/07 on 10.8.2007
  3. Crl.M.A. No. 8813/07 in 
    W.P.(Crl.) No. 1009/2007


CAW Cells cannot take suo-motu action that means the complainant has too visit the CAW Cell and give her complaint in writing. After receiving the compliant CAW Cell examine the alleged offences followed by the counselling session of the complainant. However, if the complainant unwilling to take back the compliant, request letters are sent to the opposite party asking them to appear for the purpose of conciliation. In case of matrimonial dispute, the complainant wife is asked to submit a list of Istridhan kept at matrimonial home in case the wife is no longer staying with the husband.

Generally, when the husband visits the CAW Cell in Delhi for the first time, a counsellor tries to ensure patch up between the warning couple. If there is any chances of a mutual reconciliation, the process is carried forward at future later else the husband is given a list of Istridhan to be replied by the next due date given by the counsellor.

It is most important that the husband should apply for the compliant through the RTI Cell of the concerned CAW Cell. From a husband’s perspective it is important to maintain calm and display confidence. Please be informed it has been noticed that the wife or any relative from her family might to try to instigate the husband or his relatives during the conciliation proceedings, the counselor same in cross signed by both the parties. It is in favor of the husband to attend each and every proceeding at CAW Cell.

After a few meetings generally 5-7 meetings and after a meeting SHO/ACP of the CAW Cell, if there is no scope of any reconciliation between the parties, the compliant is referred to the legal cell of the CAW Cell.

The legal Cell goes through the compliant and makes it recommendations for filing of FIR at the concerned police station. From husband perspective, this is the most appropriate time to seek a Notice Bail/Anticipatory Bail.

The crux is that CAW Cells / Mahila Thanas are merely for reconciliation efforts and it is not prudent to run a mini trial there with all the evidences. Evidences should be used at the time of trial.

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