HC strives for more convictions in incest cases | delhi | Hindustan Times
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HC strives for more convictions in incest cases

The Delhi High Court has issued guidelines to enable various authorities to effectively tackle offences like incest and sexual assault on minors.

delhi Updated: May 07, 2009 01:56 IST
Harish V Nair

The Delhi High Court has issued guidelines to enable various authorities to effectively tackle offences like incest and sexual assault on minors.

The emphasis is on ensuring that those who have committed the crime get stringent punishment.
As per official statistics the conviction rate is a minuscule 16 per cent in such offences due to limitations faced in bringing the evidence on record. Main reason — delay in gathering of evidence and witnesses turning hostile.

The court was forced to intervene as lawyer Aparna Bhat, appearing for Petitioners Delhi Commission for Women told the court that till now there was no guideline in any statute to deal with such offences.

Expeditious disposal of cases, making the victim comfortable during investigations and trial by putting her under a lady officer, specific tasks to be performed by police, hospitals, doctors, Child Welfare Committees, Sessions Court, Magistrate Courts, prosecutors is the thrust of the guidelines.

The PIL was inspired by a case where a court acquitted a man charged with raping his four-and-half-year-old
daughter after her mother and elder sister turned hostile in the court.

The Bench of Chief Justice A.P. Shah and N.K. Kaul asked the DCW to prepare a brochure containing these guidelines and circulated to all the above agencies which deal with such cases. Guidelines to police Every police station shall have a lady police official, not below the rank of Head Constable. 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. To hospitals Special rooms to be set up in all government hospitals for victims to be examined and questioned in private.

A sexual assault evidence kit for gathering and preserving physical evidence should be available with all government hospitals. To courts Magistrate shall record the statement of the victim under section 164 at the earliest which has evidentiary value unlike those made before the police.

The victim can easily retract from the statement given to police. The trial shall be expeditiously transferred to court of sessions preferably within 15 days.