Statements of rape victims should be recorded in hospitals — and not in police stations — and that too, only once by a magistrate, recommended the enquiry panel that probed the Delhi gang rape.
The commission, headed by former Delhi high court judge Usha Mehra, suggested changes in the Code of Criminal Procedure to stop recording statements at different stages.
“The statement should be treated as final. During the trial the lawyer of the accused retains the right to cross-examine the victim,” Justice Mehra said.
The panel also recommended that it should be the victim’s choice whether cross-examination would be carried through video conferencing or in the court. But the victim should never be made to confront the accused.
This concept was first mooted by Justice Gyan Sudha Misra of the Supreme Court in December, following the gang rape. Later, Justice Mehra took it a step further by asking that statements be recorded only in hospitals.
Justice Mehra asked the government to set up specialised centres in hospitals where victims would be taken for examination and treatment. “They should have a counsellor, a qualified nurse to collect evidence, a woman police inspector and a forensic expert.”