Change in the "wolf-like" mindset of men in the Capital and effective preventive measures instead of reactive demands like the clamour for death sentence for rapists, are immediately required to ensure safety of women, according to former chief justice of India VN Khare.
The 74 year-old former CJI said the brutal sexual assault on a 23-year-old educated girl, which took her life, should be enough to wake up the government and law enforcement agencies from their slumber.
"Crimes do take place in other cities and towns of the country also, but criminals seem to be having a free run in the national Capital. One shudders to think where are we headed?" Justice Khare told HT.
Asked what in his view was the reason for rising crimes against women in the Capital, the former CJI said, "It is the wolf-like mindset of men here. Have you seen how insecure women and girls feel at public places and bus stops if they are alone in the night?"
Justice Khare slammed the top government and police officials, saying they need to get out of their secure rooms and vehicles to get a first-hand account of what women go through in their daily lives, particularly while travelling in public transport.
The former CJI emphasised on preventive measures to curb sexual assaults on women. "The general police looking after law and order cannot do it. A special police cell should be set-up to deal with problems faced by women," he said.
"I fail to understand why private buses are allowed to run without the mandatory deployment of police personnel in them. The police will also have to change the way it responds to complaints of sexual harassment," Justice Khare said.
The former CJI suggested "on the spot" arrests on complaints by women and frequent surprise checks by senior police officers.
Justice Khare, however, disagreed with the demand for death sentence for rapists, terming it as an unnecessary reactive move.
"This will not act as a deterrent and will on the contrary prove to be counter-productive. Given the mindset of rapists, they might want to kill the victim in a bid to wipe out evidence. They should be imprisoned for the rest of their lives, without any pardon," Justice Khare said.
He said given the decades-old debate on what is a "rarest of rare" crime even in murder cases, with the chance of clemency later on, the emphasis on death sentence for rapists, was not entirely correct. "The focus should be on time-bound trials and high conviction rate in rape cases."