Presently, the charge sheet must be filed within 90 days

Fast-tracking investigation into rape cases, the Delhi Police have decided to file charge sheets in these cases within 20 days. This announcement was made by Delhi police commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi at the annual Delhi Police press conference on Friday.

Mr. Bassi said as per the new order, the Investigating Officers needs to file a charge sheet in any rape case within 20 days once the accused is arrested. Failure to do so will lead to a notice to the Joint Commissioner of Police heading the particular range.

Elaborating on the order, Mr. Bassi said: “At times, questions are raised over the time taken in filing the charge sheets after the arrest of the accused. Any delay in this will delay imparting of justice. Today, we have issued an order to file charge sheets in rape cases within 20 day of arrest, so that justice is served on time.”

If no charge sheet is filed even within 30 days, the Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) will be informed and subsequently he will be answerable to the Commissioner of Police. He will have to explain the reasons for the delay, Mr. Bassi added.

Currently, the maximum time allotted to the police for filing a charge sheet before the Magistrate in cases of rape and murder is 90 days. The latest order of the Delhi Police Commissioner is being seen as a relief to rape survivors as people often complaint of delay in justice.

In 2013, a steep hike in offences against women like molestation and rape rose by a jaw-dropping 412 per cent and 129 per cent respectively. The past year also saw houses/jhuggis being reported as the place where most cases molestation took place, followed by the street, commercial establishments, vehicles, bus and train platforms, parks, school/colleges, hospitals and hotels.

Mr. Bassi emphasised that the steep increase in statistics of registration of cases does not always mean rise in crime in the city as people are now more aware and come forward to report their ordeal, which is a positive sign.

According to the annual review of the Delhi Police , 90 per cent of the rape cases reported in 2013 have been solved — 76 per cent of them within one week registration. Stressing that being “people-friendly and responsive” was the top-most priority of the Delhi Police and registering valid FIRs was the first step towards that goal, Mr. Bassi added.

“Free registration of cases has always been our priority. The process of providing justice to the victim of a cognisable crime cannot begin unless an FIR is registered upon complaint. So filing an FIR is must,” said Mr. Bassi.

Speaking about rise in crime in Delhi, especially crime against women, Mr. Bassi said: “Registration of cases will depend on the crime on the street. I hope no crime goes unregistered in 2014 so that we know the city’s crime health and are able to come up with strategies to fight crime.”

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