A two-day seminar began at Baba Farid Law College, Faridkot, on the International Women's Day on Friday, on the theme of 'Access to justice in gender-based discrimination and violation: Achievements and pitfalls'. Justice RS Mongia, retired chief justice of the Guhawati high court, was chief guest and justice HS Bhalla was the guest of honour.
“Sufficient laws exist in our country to curb gender-based crimes, but there is a problem in implementation of these in letter and spirit. Girls have already been given equality by our constitution,” Mongia said, commenting on the need of a new legislation to curb crime against women.
Registration of an FIR is a must when a woman approaches police on account of any offence committed against her, he said. “The accused, however, should not be arrested immediately. The police should first investigate the case thoroughly and collect some evidences and then, if a case is made out against the accused, the arrest should be made,” Mongia suggested. “But our investigation agencies are not very well trained.”
He also spoke about some drawbacks in the juvenile act. “For the sake of speedy justice, lawyers should also not seek adjournments after adjournments,” he added.
In his address, justice Bhalla said, “Women have already been given equality as has been enshrined in the constitution of India but we still have to go a long way to see that it is fully implemented. The status of woman has also been appreciated in Indian religions and Guru Nanak Dev ji also spoke against crime against women. Economic inequality, male-dominated society and restrictions on women are the main reasons behind female foeticide, infanticide, dowry deaths and cases of molestation and outraging modesty,” Bhalla added.
Students can change the picture of society as they are going to lead the country and media can also play a vital role to stop gender-based crimes, he said.
“Indian society is most oppressed and male dominated society. We need to change the mindset behind female foeticide, dowry deaths, other crimes against women and domestic violence,” said Archana Puri, district and sessions judge, Faridkot, while addressing law college students and other participants.
“Public outcry after the Delhi gangrape case drew the attention of all the concerned and judiciary expedited pending cases of gender-based crime in courts. In several incidents, however, cases are either not reported or police do not register FIR. Women can mount pressure for their empowerment, which will give strength to everybody,” said Archna Puri.
Inderjeet Singh, chairman of the Baba Farid Society, also addressed students.