The Supreme Court has ruled that rape victims' statement be directly recorded by a judicial magistrate instead of police officials to cut short protracted proceedings.
A bench headed by Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra (since retired) said an investigating officer shall as far as possible take the victim to the nearest Lady Metropolitan Magistrate or preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate.
"Upon receipt of information relating to the commission of offence of rape, the Investigating Officer (IO) shall make immediate steps to take the victim to any Metropolitan, preferably Judicial Magistrate, for the purpose of recording her statement under Section 164 CrPC.
"A copy of the statement should be handed over to the investigating officer immediately with a specific direction that the contents of such statement should not be disclosed to any person till charge sheet/report under Section 173 CrPC is filed," it said.
The bench, also comprising Justice V Gopala Gowda, said the IO shall record the date and the time at which he learnt about the commission of the offence of rape and the date and time at which he took the victim to the Judicial Magistrate.
It said if there is any delay exceeding 24 hours in taking the victim to the magistrate, the investigating officer should record the reasons for the same in the case diary and hand over a copy of the same to the magistrate.
"Considering the consistent recurrence of the heinous crime of rape and gang rape all over the country including metropolitan cities, we are of the view that it is high time such measures of reform in the CrPC be introduced after deliberation and debate by the legal fraternity as also all concerned," it said.
It said copy of the order be circulated to all Directors General of Police of all the states, Commissioner of Police in metropolitan cities/UTs who in turn would send a copy of the order to all the police stations in-charge in their states/UTs for compliance in cases registered on or after the receipt of a copy of these directions.