Chief Minister criticises poor conviction rate and shoddy investigation

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has said that the government is in the process of setting up fast-track courts in the State to exclusively deal with the cases related to crime against women.

Addressing the media during the senior police officer's conference here on Thursday. Mr. Shettar said it was to ensure speedy trial and increase conviction rates of the accused, especially those who are involved in crime against women. He hoped that these steps would reduce crimes against women drastically.

He was referring to the Delhi and Jnana Bharati gang-rape cases, which triggered a debate across the country. Mr. Shettar said the Delhi gang-rape was an incident where “we have to bow our heads in shame”. After the Jnana Bharati incident, the authorities had decided to invoke provisions of Goonda Act against rapists to prevent them from securing bail.

Taking objection to the poor conviction rate and shoddy investigation, Mr. Shettar pulled up the police officers and urged them to be more professional.

“I worked as a advocate for some years. I have seen that the accused would easily escape punishment as the court would acquit them in at least 70 to 80 per cent of the cases because of the failure of police to collect evidence,” he said.

If this was the situation, the accused would be encouraged to commit crimes unabated and the fear of law among them would not be there, the Chief Minister said.

Even public prosecutors should take the cases seriously and fight in the court with conviction. A Cabinet meeting would be held on the amendment to the laws to make it more stronger, he said.

Bangalore was growing rapidly and any incident in the city becomes international news, he said adding that garbage issue was the best example. The State government was also planning to set up two more commissionarates in Belgaum and Gulbarga considering the growth of the cities. “In many of the police stations, complaints are not being received. Police should build confidence among the public and register the complaint based merit of the complaint,” Mr. Shettar said.

Home Minister R Ashok said the data on missing persons’ cases maintained by the police showed around 24,000 women missing. “I was shocked when I heard about this. But, later I learnt that 90 per cent of the missing women have returned to their homes. But the data is not updated,” the Minister said.

“It sends a wrong message that the State is not safe for women. Because of the mistakes committed by the police officials in data, we present the same in the conferences, where Home Minister from various States gather, and when they raise question of safety, we have no answer, Mr. Ashok added.

However”, Chief secretary S.V. Ranganath said, “There is no need to amend the laws, what we have at present is enough and only thing need to be done is prevent small crimes and take strict action.”

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