Monday, 1 April 2013

Police Initiatives for Women Related Offences

By Ishita Y. Aggarwal - Centre for Social Research
In a bid to make the cases of ‘violence against women’ and ‘sexual offences’ more transparent and rid them of controversial clauses, certain amendments have been made to the procedural conduct of cases. For dowry or rape related cases the police now bear the onus of communicating, through any possible means, the listing of bail applications in favour of the accused. It had been observed earlier that since the police were not bound to inform the complainant about the issuance of bail by the court, the victims were unable to challenge the bail due to their absence and lack of information. This had been widely interpreted by complainants as collusion between the police and the criminals.

Whenever a bail matter is listed for a rape accused, the lawyer of the Delhi Commission for Women should be immediately informed at the following numbers of Rape Crisis Cell’(RCC) of the Delhi Commission for Women-

RCC Help Line No. : 011-23370557(10 AM to 5 AM)
Mobile No. : 09013707460 (after office hours)
Fax No. : 011-23378325
Email ID :
Address : Delhi Commission for Women, ‘C’ Block, 2nd Floor,Vikas Bhawan, I.P.Estate, New Delhi.

The representatives of the Delhi Commission for Women have assured that they would send their lawyers to oppose the bail if timely information is given to them. To reaffirm the commitment to treat sexual offences at workplace as a crime, districts and units were advised to set up committees headed by a Women Police Officer, with 50% women members in each district/Unit. A central committee consisting of Chairperson, two members and an NGO, ‘Nav Jayoti Delhi Police Foundation’, situated at, Vikas Bhawan, Sanjay Amar Colony, Jamna Pusta, Delhi-110007 has also been constituted at Police Headquarters to over-see the action taken by the committees.

The Supreme Court of India has held that harassment at work place includes:-
  • Physical contact and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Sexually coloured remark
  • Showing pornography, and
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non verbal conduct of a sexual nature
Necessary steps have been taken in the direction to ensure the protection of the ‘Right of Privacy’ of the victims of sexual offence. in all cases of sexual assault, particularly cases involving gang-rape or cases where the identity of the accused is not known to the victim is a child, DNA profiling should be conducted mandatorily. The Rohini Court has observed that the PV or finger test is not a required means of investigation to corroborate the charges of guilt. In fact it was stated that the opinion of the Doctors rendered after conducting such a test had no bearing with regard to the guilt or the accused.

It has also been directed that the investigating officers exercise professional attitude while handling cases of sexual offence. At the time of recording of First Information Report, the victim should interact with the Investigation Officer in a peaceful environment to ensure maximum information about the incident and victim herself. After getting initial information, a responsible lady police official should talk to the victim at length to yield purposeful personal information about the victim. This will help prosecution to produce the victim in the Court during trial. During this interaction, expert members of NGOs working in this filed can also be associated so that the victim may feel more comfortable. The interaction between the victim and the Investigation Officer should be an effort to gain maximum details from the victim so as to enable the victim to produce substantial evidence before the court.

DNA Profiling in Sexual Assault Case Mandatory
Instructions with respect to victims of sexual offences/rape etc
Listing of Bail to be Communicated to Complainant
Sexual Harassment at work place
Report to mention if approval of DCP over bail was sought
No PV/Finger Text for Sexual Assault Cases
Opposing bail of Rape accused in Courts by lawyers of the Delhi Commission for Women

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