In sync with the International Women’s Day celebrations on Friday, the Bombay high court stepped in to pledge its support towards women’s empowerment by making it easier for victims of sexual assault to set the criminal justice system in motion without any embarrassment or fear.
Chief Justice Mohit Shah has directed all the authorities concerned to implement a set of instructions issued through a circular by Registrar General SB Shukre, with immediate effect.
Shukre on Thursday issued a circular stating that directions have already been issued to assign cases involving sexual assault against women exclusively to courts presided over by women judicial officers in the concerned districts.
The circular states that “it is a settled law that cases involving sexual assault against women are required to be dealt with greater sensitivity.”
The circular reasons that in such cases, women are the victims of crime and for the purpose of enabling victims to give their evidence in a stress-free atmosphere and without any fear or embarrassment, it is desirable that all staff members including the bench clerks, stenographer, interpreter, typist-cum-clerk, havaldar as well as peons, are all women.
The circular states that March 8 being Women’s Day, the chief justice has directed that the instructions be implemented immediately from Friday. “This will have to be followed by all the trial courts in the state,” Shukre said.
“Most officials are generally men and the victim would find it hard to depose comfortably. This move would make the proceedings more comfortable so that offences are diligently pursued and brought to a logical conclusion,” said advocate Arfan Sait.