Andhra Pradesh

21 days not enough for probe, conviction in rape cases: women’s panel chief

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Rekha Sharma wants States to adopt ‘realistic’ approach for concrete result

A period of 21 days given to the police to complete investigation and the courts to convict accused in rape cases under the new Disha Act promulgated by the Andhra Pradesh government is “too less”, said Chairperson of the National Commission for Women Rekha Sharma.

Speaking to The Hindu on the phone, Ms. Sharma said the governments should get realistic and not fan public sentiments. “I welcome the Andhra Pradesh government’s move but I am apprehensive about the new Act’s effective implementation,” she said.

Speaking about fast track courts constituted by States in the past, she said they did not give the desired results and cited the example of Madhya Pradesh’s “alarming rate of atrocities against women and very few or no convictions.”

Ill-equipped system

The women’s panel chief also expressed fears that the situation might give rise to new problems. Pointing out that the police not filing FIRs in many cases was an issue of concern, she said the problem might become worse now since the department would have to complete the investigation within the stipulated time.

“There is a shortage of judges and how the State (A.P.) can implement the new law effectively in the given scenario is to be seen,” she said. “Three months’ time should be given for a concrete result. We don’t want the governments to act in haste while dealing with a sensitive issue like rape,” she added.

Referring to the Disha case, she said it could have perhaps been averted if the police acted swiftly. “To save their skin, they encountered the accused. People who hurled abuse at the police initially, showered petals on them after the encounter,” she said, adding that it was not a healthy sign.

Multiple failures

Ms. Sharma attributed the alarming rise in crimes against the fairer sex to failure at multiple levels. “We have failed at individual level, as a family and a society as a whole. We need to go back to our roots and revisit the ethics and values that were integral part of our lives in the past.”

The chief of the Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal, meanwhile, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replicate Disha Act in the entire country.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:49:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/21-days-not-enough-for-probe-conviction-in-rape-cases-womens-panel-chief/article30314119.ece

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