We are failing to treat women with dignity, respect and equality, says Justice Misra

The Supreme Court, expressing serious concern at lack of safety for women in the capital in the wake of the recent gang rape, has made it clear that safety should come back.

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra made this observation while issuing notice on Friday to the Centre and the National Commission for Women on a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to them to establish a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Even as counsel explained lack of safety in buses, Justice Dipak Misra said, “You are absolutely correct. There is no safety. Safety has to come back.” When counsel wanted a direction for cancellation of permits issued for buses in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, the judge said, “Not only buses, even bus owners. Ultimately, people should behave.”

Justice Radhakrishnan said: “Even after the Delhi rape incident, such crimes are continuing.” Justice Misra said: “We are failing to treat women with dignity, respect and equality. That must come.”

The petition filed by Nipun Saxena, a law student, and Ankita Chaudhary, advocate, said all public and transport vehicles should be fitted with the GPS system and the high security registration plate, besides maintenance of the logbook. All vehicles should carry the names and telephone numbers of the owners, drivers, conductors and cleaners, in large letters on the rear side.

Further, the government should encourage employment of more and more women as drivers and conductors, and also start a taxi/auto service with women at the wheel so that women would have the transport of their choice. The government should allot booths/small shops and bus stand/railway station/shopping malls all along major roads in the city to women who had a police/army/para-military background. This would boost the confidence of women.

The system of appointment of honorary magistrates from among people of repute should be revived to inspect the functioning of the transport system. They should be empowered to issue challans to offenders for violation of rules on the road, the petition said.