Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said it was a matter of concern that the police, prosecutors and judges were ignoring the guidelines issued by the Centre on handling of cases of crime against women.

Responding to supplementaries during question hour in the Lok Sabha, he said there were strict guidelines on how a case (crime against women) should be investigated and prosecuted.

“I agree that the guidelines are not followed in some cases by police, prosecutors and judges,” he said. He appealed to the States to follow the procedure strictly.

Pointing out that law and order was a State subject, he said the Centre, time to time, had impressed upon the States to follow the guidelines to reduce the agony of the victim.

Spelling out some of the guidelines, he said it was stressed that a thorough investigation must be launched and a charge sheet against the accused filed within three months of the date of occurrence of the crime, medical examination in case of rape without any delay and creation of special women police cells.

Women judges hearing cases of crime against women, policemen not touching the victims, recording of statement of the victim at her home in the presence of her parents, relatives or women social workers and in camera hearing of the cases were some of the other guidelines.

Tourism police force

Admitting that some foreign women tourists were molested, Mr. Chidambaram said it was not proper to “exaggerate” the issue and paint an alarming picture of India not being safe for foreign travellers.

The Centre had issued a detailed advisory on safety and security of foreign tourists and some States had created tourism police forces.

On crimes against domestic help, he said they were “quiet victims” due to the kind of relationship and unequal power situation they were in.

If domestic help get organised, as witnessed in some cities, it would be possible for holding sensitisation and education campaigns.

Growing crimes

Mr. Chidambaram agreed that crimes against women were a matter of grave concern and that these numbers were also growing. “But the police too were solving a large number of such crimes and bringing the culprits to book,” he said.

He assured the members that the Centre would continue to do its best and impress upon the State governments to ensure that women got justice.

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