The country’s top court on Friday expressed its concern about safety in Delhi, with specific reference to incidents of rape, and asked the Centre to respond to a plea seeking to protect the dignity of sexual assault victims.
The Supreme Court noted that little had changed in terms of safety on the roads nearly a month after the horrific gangrape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving Delhi bus.
“Even after the incident we still get to hear about similar instances. We read them in newspapers. There is no safety in the city and it has to come back. We’re concerned with safety,” said the bench of justice KS Radhakrishnan and justice Dipak Misra.
“There is no safety for women. We are failing to treat women with dignity, equality and respect,” the apex court said while asking authorities to respond to a petition to examine the suitability of the controversial two-finger medical test conducted on rape victims.
The two-finger test, in which a doctor inserts two fingers into a woman’s genital tract to determine whether sexual activity has taken place, has been criticised both because it underlines stereotypes of rape victims as being of loose character and because it piles further indignity on the woman.
The petitioners, fourth-year law student Nipun Saxena and advocate Ankita Chaudhary, also want the court to direct the Centre to frame elaborate guidelines for the manner in which immediate medico-legal assistance is to be provided to rape victims.
The public interest litigation wants the court to direct Delhi government and its transport authority to immediately revoke the licences of vehicles plying in violation of the Motor Vehicle Act, a key factor in the bus gang rape.
The court also asked the Delhi government to respond to data cited in the plea that the Capital topped records in crimes against women. It sought responses from the ministry of women and child development and the National Commission for Women in response to an allegation that they had failed to act upon a 16-year-old SC direction to set up a criminal injuries compensation board for rape victims.