With more people calling for harsher punishment and speedier justice in rape cases, Tamil Nadu has become the first State to unveil an action plan for curbing sexual offences against women.
In a 13-point plan, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday mooted severe punishments like death penalty and chemical castration for sexual offenders through amendments in Central Acts.
Expressing grief over the death of the 23-year-old gang rape victim in New Delhi, Ms. Jayalalithaa said her government would set up fast track Mahila courts in each district to deal with sexual crimes against women, appoint women investigating officers and prosecutors to make the police probe and trial more gender-sensitive. Efforts would be made to expedite the trial by holding daily hearings.
The Goondas Act, a preventive detention law, would be amended to include sexual offenders under the Act’s purview.
Sexual offences against women would be considered grave crimes henceforth; investigation would be supervised by deputy superintendents of police. Women inspectors, or in their absence, women sub-inspectors would assist the enquiry. Superintendents of police and Deputy Inspectors General would conduct a monthly review of such cases.
IGs would submit a report in 15 days on the number of cases of sexual crime under investigation and pending in courts to the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order).
The Centre would be requested to bring in amendments to introduce death penalty and chemical castration for sexual offenders and prevent them from getting bail till the trial is completed. The State government would bear the entire medical expenses of victims of sexual violence and assist them in their rehabilitation, Ms. Jayalalithaa announced.
Like Childline, an integrated women’s helpline would be in place with the help of service-minded individuals, activists working for welfare of women and involving trained professionals capable of handling women in distress.
Efforts would be taken to install CCTV cameras in all public buildings to easily identify those involved in crime against women.
Plainclothes policemen would also be deployed at sensitive installations like malls and women’s colleges to monitor the movement of those who harass women, said Ms. Jayalalithaa, in a statement.
Keywords: Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, rape cases, speedier justice, death sentence, chemical castration, women’s safety, sexual harassment, Goondas Act, Fast Track Mahila Courts, Women Helpline, sexual assault