The Supreme Court has said that the victims of sexual assault required a different kind of treatment and it was incumbent upon state governments to issue guidelines as how to deal with them.
"It is an obligation on the part of the state authorities and, particularly, the director general of police and home ministry of the state to issue proper guidelines and instructions as how to deal with such cases and what kind of treatment is to be given to the prosecutrix...," said the apex court bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice FMI Kalifulla in a recent judgment.
Noting that a victim of sexual assault required a different treatment, the court said "...a victim of sexual assault requires a totally different kind of treatment not only from the society but also from the state authorities".
The investigating officer "must ensure that the victim of rape should be handled carefully by lady police official/officer, depending upon the availability of such official/officer", the court said.
Investigation should be completed at the earliest to avoid the bail to the accused on technicalities as provided under Section 167 Cr.P.C. and final report should be submitted under Section 173 Cr.P.C., at the earliest, the court said.
The court issued the direction to the Madhya Pradesh government while upholding the state high court's Nov 4, 2011 verdict reversing the July 16, 1992 judgment and order of a sessions court in Seoni.
The sessions court had acquitted a minor's rapist Dilip, holding that the victim had consented to sexual intercourse. But this finding of the subordinate court was reversed by the high court.
Referring to eight directions earlier issued by the apex court way back in 1995, investigating agency as well as the subordinate courts sometimes adopt a totally indifferent attitude towards the prosecutrix.
Urging the concerned authorities to deal with rape victims with care, the apex court in its 13-page order said: "Certain care has to be taken by the doctor who medically examine the victim of rape. The victim of rape should generally be examined by a female doctor."
"Simultaneously, she (victim) should be provided help of some psychiatrist," said the court.
The medical report should be prepared expeditiously and the doctor should examine the victim of rape thoroughly and give his/her opinion with all possible angles in mind, the court.
The victim should be sent for medical examination at the earliest and her statement should be recorded by the investigating officer in the presence of her family members making the victim comfortable, except in incest cases, the court said.
The court asked the chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh government to examine its observations and issue comprehensive guidelines in this regards, at the earliest.