Delhi HC directs police stations to assist victims of sexual assault

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Emphasizing on the emerging need to create social reformation, the Delhi High Court issued direction to police stations to maintain a congenial atmosphere so that victims of sexual assault can ‘come forward without fear’. The HC further stressed that such steps are a necessity to bring down incidents of sexual assault women face at their homes.

Going by the alarming trend of rape and molestation by persons acquainted with the victim, the bench comprising Justice Badar Durezz Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul directed the Delhi Police as well as the Women and Child Development department to lay special emphasis to the ‘societal problem’.

The court came up with the significant decision in the wake of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority’s (DSLSA’s) submission stating easy access to the rape crisis centers.

To further assist the victims, the court also ordered the Centre to provide DSLSA with a three or four digit toll free helpline number. The directions were issued on a PIL concerning safety of women filed last year by Nandita Dhar, a social activist through advocate Gaurav Bansal.

The court further stressed on scientific investigation methods such as DNA and fingerprinting to be used in all cases. Also, the investigating team should be well equipped with the complete wherewithal to efficiently probe a case – irrespective of the social status of the victim.

“We have issued detailed directions to police and the government. They are expected to be released by Thursday”, the court said.

Taking note of the poor quality of investigations to deal with such cases and the difference regarding course of action among investigators, the court was compelled to come up with such drastic measures. Also, data on crime against women in 44 red flagged areas of the city revealed a steep rise in incidents of rape, molestation alongside eve teasing in the national capital since the December 16 gang rape incident. The data shockingly showed that most of the incidents occurred in the victim’s houses and the accused in most of the cases is either a close relative or an acquaintance.

Observing that some convicted foreign nationals were leading a free life in India, the court further sought details of pedophiles and directed the police to look at issues of obscene calls and stalking.