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National Human Rights Commission, India has taken cognizance of complaints alleging that there has been an exponential increase in the incidents of crime against women in Rajasthan.

Allegedly, 80,000 cases were registered in the State pertaining to the crime against women in the last one year. Out of which more than 12,000 are rape cases. Giving the press clippings in support of the allegations, the Commission has requested for its intervention in the matter.

The Commission has observed that the allegations and the incidents appear to be serious in nature indicating violation of human rights. It appears that there has been an unabated crime against women in the State, which raises a question mark on the efficacy of the State Machinery in curbing such crimes. It is the cardinal duty of the State to protect the rights of the women and punish the perpetrators without fail.

Accordingly, the Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, and the Director-General of Police, Rajasthan directing them to enquire into the specific incidents and submit an Action Taken Report mentioning each of the incidents to the Commission within four weeks. They shall also inform the Commission about the steps being taken by the State for inspiring confidence in the women and the girls ensuring their safety and security in the State.

Highlighting the state of affairs with regards to crime against women, the complainant has drawn the attention of the Commission towards some of the following incidents that happened in the last one month and has requested its intervention in the matter:

1. Kidnapping of a minor girl at Jalore, on 22.03.2021 and self-immolation by the mother of the victim because of the inaction of the authority.

2. Gang-rape of a minor at Kota by more than 30 persons between 25.02.2021 to 06.03.2021.

3. Gang-rape victim was burnt alive at Hanumangarh on 05.03.2021.

4. Gang-rape of a woman at Kota on 06.03.2021.

5. Rape of a woman by the ASI when she came to lodge a report, on 07.03.2021.

6. Rape of a woman at Ajmer on 08.03.2021.

7. Disrobing and beating of the mother and the daughter on 09.03.2021.

8. Attempt to kidnap and rape of a teacher on 13.03.2021.

9. Attempt to rape of a woman at the DCP Office by the ACP, on 14.03.2021.

10. Rape of a patient in the ICU by the Nursing Person at Jaipur, on 15.03.2021.

11. Rape and making an obscene video of a woman on 15.03.2021.

12. Many incidents like gang-rape of a minor at Jhunjhunu, rape of a 6-year-old child in Sri Ganganagar, sexual harassment of a girl in Bhilwara, kidnapping and rape of a minor at Alwar, rape and making of obscene video of a girl, on 18.03.2021.

13. Beating by use of lathi of a pregnant daughter at Village Sirana, Pali, on 19.03.2021.

National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 26-03-2021]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Government of India has taken steps to strengthen legislative provisions to deal with incidents of sexual offences against women and girls.

Government of India has also issued various advisories to the States/ Union Territories from time-to-time emphasizing the strict actions to be taken by the police in cases of crime against women, including in cases of sexual assault which includes registration of FIR, collection of evidence for forensic examination and use of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) Kit, completion of investigation in sexual assault cases in two months, use of National Database on Sexual Offenders for identifying and tracking repeat sexual offenders, etc.

Criminal laws relating to sexual offences against women provide, inter-alia, for the following actions to be taken by the Police in such cases:

Zero FIR

(i) Compulsory registration of FIR in case of cognizable offence under sub-section (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). The law also enables the police to register FIR or a “Zero FIR” (in case the crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of police station) in the event of receipt of information on commission of a cognizable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women.

Punishment to a Public Servant

(ii) Section 166 A(c) of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC) provides for punishment to a public servant for failure to record FIR in relation to cognizable offences punishable under section 326A, Section 326B, Section 354, Section 354B, Section 370, Section 370A, Section 376, Section 376A, Section 376AB, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D, Section 376DA, Section 376DB, Section 376E or Section 509 in IPC.

Police Investigation in 2 months | Rape

(iii) Section 173 of CrPC provides for completion of police investigation in relation to rape in two months. In order to facilitate the State police to monitor compliance, in this regard MHA has provided an online portal called Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) for monitoring the same. This is available exclusively to law enforcement officers.

Registered Medical Practitioner

(iv) Section 164-A of CrPC provides that in rape/sexual assault investigation the victim shall be examined by a registered medical practitioner under consent within twenty-four hours from the time of receiving the information relating to the commission of such offence.

Dying Declaration

(v) Section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, provides that the statement, written or verbal, by a person who is dead shall be treated as relevant fact in the investigation when the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death. Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order dated 7th January 2020, in the matter of Criminal Appeal Nos. 194-195 of 2012 in the case of Purshottam Chopra & Anr. v. State (Govt. of NCT Delhi), directed that a particular statement, when being offered as dying declaration and satisfies all the requirements of judicial scrutiny, cannot be discarded merely because it has not been recorded by a Magistrate or that the police officer did not obtain attestation by any person present at the time of making of the statement.

Forensic Evidence

(vi)The Directorate of Forensic Science Services (DFSS) under the MHA has issued Guidelines for collection, preservation & transportation of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases for Investigation Officers and Medical Officers. In order to facilitate the State Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has issued Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) Kits to every State/UT. It is necessary to use these SAEC kits in every case of sexual assault reported. MHA advisory dated 5th October 2020 in this matter may be referred. BPR&D and LNJN National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (NICFS) have been regularly conducting Training and Training of Trainers (ToT) programmes on the procedure for collection, preservation and handling of forensic evidence for Police/Prosecutors and Medical Officers respectively.

Further, MHA stated, any failure of police to adhere to the mandatory requirements may not augur well for the delivery of criminal justice in the country, especially in the context of women safety. Such lapses, if noticed, need to be investigated into and stringent action taken immediately against the officers concerned responsible for the same.

Read the Advisory here: ADVISORY

Ministry of Home and Affairs

[Advisory dt. 09-10-2020]

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As reported by PTI, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law Minister urges the Chief Justice of India and other Senior Judges to ensure a mechanism to monitor quick disposal of rape cases and further adding that women of the country are under pain and distress.

Law Minister stated that there are 704 fast-track courts for heinous offences and others and the government is in the process of setting up 1,123 dedicated courts for POCSO and rape offences.

He also said India’s judiciary, be it the Supreme Court, high courts or subordinate courts, has upheld the principles of the rule of law. But, he stressed, the need to attract more talent in the subordinate judiciary.

All of the above was stated by the Minister during the inauguration of the new building of Rajsthan High Court.

[Source: PTI]

[Image Credits: Hindustan Times]