Justice Mehra wants one-stop centres for rape victims

Criticising the Delhi Police and the Delhi Transport Department for lack of coordination leading to serious lapses in public safety and security, the Justice Usha Mehra Commission has called for establishment of a “one-stop centre” each at a notified hospital in each zone in Delhi to help rape victims and ensure speedy punishment to culprits.

The former Delhi High Court Judge, who has submitted her report to Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, said the centre should have a nurse, a gynaecologist, a police inspector, a forensic expert and a counsellor — all under one roof — so that once a rape victim reaches there, she should be properly examined.

And if prima facie the case is that of sexual assault, a magistrate should be called immediately for recording the victim’s statement for speedy action and expeditious disposal of the case.

“Such a system exists in Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Africa… we can have it in India also,” she said.

According to the report, lack of coordination between the police and the transport department led to the bus used in the December 16 gang-rape plying uninterrupted despite being fined many times. “Despite being ‘challaned’ [penalised] many times, there was no action to prevent plying of the bus.”

Similarly, there were no rules to ensure effective coordination between the Delhi police and their counterparts in neighbouring satellite townships (Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Faridabad) when a crime takes place. “Rules must be framed on how to coordinate. There should be sensitisation at all levels,” she said.

There is an urgent need for increasing the number of PCR vans and public transport vehicles in Delhi, the report said. It pointed out that when the gang rape accused were driving the bus, there was no PCR van to stop the vehicle or police picket on the roads. The Commission was set up to inquire into various aspect of the gang rape incident in December last year, identify the lapses on the part of the police or any other authority, and suggest measures to improve the safety and security of women.

Mr. Ashwani Kumar said the Union Government would take suitable action on the recommendations. “The Commission prepared the report ahead of time. It has concentrated on three to four principal issues — sensitisation of police, coordination of the police and transport departments and sensitisation of the media,” he added.

Push button

In its report, the Commission suggested that “girls should be taught about good and bad gestures.” A system should be put in place in which there should be a push button in mobile phones through which the family or police could be reached whenever anyone was in distress.

It suggested amendment to Section 231 of Cr.PC dealing with evidence recorded by judge being treated as ‘examination on chief’ and that there should be provision for cross-examination through video conferencing.

The Commission suggested separation of the investigation agency from law and order duties, while action should be taken against auto rickshaws which refuse to carry commuters and enhancement of the DTC bus fleet as public transport in Delhi was not adequate.

‘It should have a nurse, a gynaecologist, a police inspector, a forensic expert & a counsellor’

Commission suggests that girls should be taught about good and bad gestures

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