Taking up a public interest litigation giving various suggestions for issuance of further directions to the police as well as judicial officers in proper handling of cases of crime against women, the Punjab and Haryana high court issued notices of motion to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for February 26.
The petition filed by a Chandigarh woman, who claimed to have had a harrowing experience at the hands of police as well as in the lower court, being a victim of rape, came up for hearing before the division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on Friday.
She informed the court that after her complaint to the sector-19 police station, Chandigarh, an FIR was registered by the police against the accused, Ranjit Singh, a resident of sector 39 of Chandigarh, after a month and 27 days. Thereafter, the police had failed to present the challan in the court even after around six months, she said.
The court was also informed that even when the FIR was registered, the offence under section 376 (rape) of the IPC was not included in it and the FIR was registered only under sections 384 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
It was informed that the accused was granted bail by the additional sessions judge, Chandigarh, as the police did not inform the court that the accused was a proclaimed offender in another case.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate HC Arora informed the court that no woman police officer ever visited the victim's house for seeking any clarifications from her and she had to repeatedly visit the police station with her aged mother and had to wait for hours for getting her statement recorded.
The petitioner suggested to the court that the entire investigation into the complaint of crime against women should be conducted by women police officials; only women police officials should visit the victim's house for investigation and in no circumstances the victim should be forced to visit the police station.
She also suggested that judicial officers be sensitised to expeditiously decide cases involving crime against women, police officials in such cases be directed to immediately register an FIR first and thereafter investigate the matter; and the investigating officer should present the challan in the court within a month.
The petitioner also suggested that while considering the application for grant of anticipatory bail in such cases, the court should investigate into the antecedents of the accused as to whether he had ever been involved in any crime, whether any other criminal case is pending against him and whether he is a proclaimed offender in any other case.