Barkha Singh, MLA and Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women speaks to Hindustan Times on her plans, priorities and achievements. Now, she said, someting needs to be done urgently about incestual rape. Excerpts:
What are the major achievements of the commission after you took office as chairperson?
Since it was reconstituted in 2007, the commission has been working extensively for the welfare and safety of women in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. ‘Sahyogini’, the family counselling centre and ‘Helpline’, the phone-counseling cell, are actively assisting women in distress. ‘Rape Crisis Cell’ provides free legal service and emotional counseling to rape victims. Mahila (women) panchayats are working in different areas to help resolve family disputes.
Incidents of rape, particularly incestual rape, are on the rise. What is the commission doing?
Due to the efforts of the lawyers of the Rape Crisis Cell of the commission, the Delhi High Court passed guidelines to deal with rape cases with special attention to incest cases. Strict directives have been issued to the police and the hospitals to take special care of rape victims. The Rape Crisis Cell will be consulted in all these cases.
The number of cases involving marital discord has been on the rise. What is the commission doing about it?
The commission inaugurated recently a pre-marital counselling centre to make couples aware of the issues and problems related to marriage.
Do you think the commission needs more powers to deal with women’s issues effectively?
It is my plan to decentralise the working of the commission to the district and block levels. This would make sure women get a solution of their problems in their own areas.