Video Summary

[RSTV The Big Picture] Fighting Crimes Against Women

The Centre has issued a fresh advisory to states and Union Territories on mandatory action in cases of crimes against women.
By IT's Video Summary Team
October 15, 2020

Contents

  • Introduction
  • What is the new advisory?
  • Problems in India
  • Way Forward
  • Conclusion

Fighting Crimes Against Women

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Introduction

The Centre has issued a fresh advisory to states and Union Territories on mandatory action in cases of crimes against women. The detailed three-page advisory of the Home Ministry came days after the alleged gangrape and murder of a woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh sparked nationwide outrage.

What is the new advisory?

  • The probe into rape cases must be completed within two months as per law.
  • The dying declaration of a victim can’t be discarded merely because it has not been recorded by a magistrate.
  • There should be compulsory registration of an FIR in case of a cognisable offence under the CrPC.
  • The law also enables the police to register an FIR or a Zero FIR, in cases-
    • Crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of the police station.
    • In the event of receipt of the information on the commission of a cognisable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women.
  • Any lapses need to be investigated into and stringent action is taken immediately against the concerned officers responsible for the same.
  • The Section 173 of CrPC provides for completion of the police investigation in relation to rape in two months.
  • The Section 164-A of CrPC provides that in rape or sexual assault investigation.
  • The victim should be examined by a registered medical practitioner under consent within 24 hours from the time of receiving the information relating to the commission of such offence.

 Problems in India:

  • FIRs are not filed in time, unnecessary questions asked to the victim.
  • With many legal provisions India is still an extremely women unfriendly country.
  • Can’t expect an immediate change but at least the lackadaisical attitude will change after this directive.
  • Even today things are as bad as 25 years ago, with the cult of masculinity still prevailing.
  • The country treat atrocities & crimes against women as very trivial and they are not priorities of any police organization.
  • Many cases FIRs not even registered even though SC verdict in Lalitha Kumari Case is clear that FIR in cases of cognizable offence must be registered.
  • The possible reasons behind this are- Minimization of statistics of crime or to cover up the crime.
  • Police doesn’t want to be seen in bad light like they were unable to prevent crimes.
  • The country and the media houses discuss the crime & punishment only after the incident and our conversation doesn’t go to prevention.
  • Conversations on this issue need to happen not just after commission of such heinous crimes but even without them so that these very crimes can be prevented.
  • India should focus on steps on practical level to ensure that fewer crimes are committed, For eg: More patrolling and More street lights.
  • Creating safer street culture by ensuring lesser streets are deserted.

Way Forward:

  • The prevention of the crimes requires a cultural shift as well as most crimes still happen within the confines of homes & victims are raped by people they know well like relatives/friends.
  • Most of these crimes don’t even make it to statistics.
  • This requires an open social & cultural condemnation of the overt masculinity that is still prevalent in our country.
  • This needs for shifting the blame away from the victim & standing by her should be given the benefit of doubt.
  • Rape mostly a case of display of power and less about sex/caste/religion — victims need to be empowered.
  • The family and at least mothers & other women need to stand by the victim rather than blaming them.
  • This requires educating children and brainwashing them to make sure they know that women are equal to men & deserve equal respect.
  • Police officers should be incentivised by rewarding good cops who ensure justice to the victims & the ones that do not do their duty should be shamed & punished under IPC section 166a.
  • We need to strengthening the police system and the establish the forensic apparatus.
  • We need to create a culture of prevention and parents should be held equally responsible or accountable for their child’s behaviour.
  • Every district needs to have an easily accessible & competent forensic lab and needs to build criminal intelligence.
  • All the stakeholders need to get their act together, including Law makers, police officers, forensic dept, prosecutors, judiciary, medical & health dept, NGOs, rehabilitation centers.

Conclusion:

  • Mere framing of stringent provisions in law are not sufficient, but the problem requires several capacity-building measures with unfailing attitude of police to adhere to these mandatory requirements, in order to deliver criminal justice in the country.
  • While policing reforms, & criminal reforms are important in ensuring prevention & justice, they can’t be seen as a silver bullet, crime against women cannot be resolved in the court of law alone. A holistic approach & changing the entire ecosystem is what is required to ensure women safety.
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