At a meeting with senior police officers, Patil issued directives to ensure that policing is more gender sensitive and to improve the conviction rates of such crimes, which includes action against policemen who don’t register complaints, a time limit for probes and workshops to equip the police to handle such cases.
The minister announced that policemen who failed to register complaints would face disciplinary action, including suspension.
“I have asked the police to ensure that rape and sexual harassment cases are investigated within 60 days, charge sheet filed within 90 days and hearing starts within one-and-a-half month,” Patil said on the sidelines of a NCP function in the city. “All rape cases in fast-track courts will have in-camera hearings.”
Recognising the need for police officials to be more sensitive, he said: “It will be mandatory for all policemen to be well-versed with sexual harassment laws. We will hold workshops in the next 15 days on this.”
Patil said senior policemen would have to review investigations carried out by their juniors.
Policemen should also be sensitive while questioning victims and try to take down the statement in the presence of women officers, Patil said. “Asking questions that can embarrass the victim under the pretext of a probe will not be tolerated.”
He said investigating officers must liaise with government lawyers to ensure conviction. “We have to submit a list of lawyers who aren’t doing their jobs well,” said an official.