Delhi High Court on Wednesday initiated steps to lay down guidelines to deal with cases of sexual offences, mainly where minor girls are raped by close family members.
Expeditious disposal of cases, making the victim comfortable during investigations and trial by putting her under a lady officer, trial by a lady judge and compensation for the victim were some of the suggestions by lawyers of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Delhi government and police at the hearing.
A bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah had earlier asked the court’s registrar-general to vet the guidelines by the DCW and modify them. The court is acting on a PIL filed by the DCW complaining that the statute did not lay down guidelines of legislation to effectively tackle cases of incest or child sexual abuse. The acquittal rate was high due to limitations faced in collecting evidence. A chief reason — witnesses turning hostile.
Police stations shall have a lady police official, not below the rank of head constable, round-the-clock round. As soon as a complaint is received the official is to make the victim and her family comfortable. After intimating the rape crises call, the officer is to take the victim for medical examination. An assistant commissioner shall supervise all investigations.
The statement of the victim shall be recorded in private. But a family members may be allowed to make her comfortable. If a family member is a suspect, he would not be allowed in.
The DCW suggests the accused should not be brought in the presence of the victim except for identification. Special rooms in all government hospitals for victims to be examined and questioned in privacy have also been mooted.
The authorities want the Child Welfare Committee to examine the victim to find out the nature of support she is getting from her family and initiate steps to identify a ‘support person’.