Time for cops to walk Jaya’s talk
By T Muruganandham | Published: 02nd January 2013 09:11 AM |
Social activists have welcomed the measures announced by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to curb sexual offences against women in the State. However, they said the announcements would bear fruit only if the police department implement them.
Senior lawyer Sudha Ramalingam said some of the measures, like speedy trial of sexual offence cases, installation of CCTVs in all public buildings, periodical monitoring the progress of investigation, sensitisation of the police about the issues concerning sexual offences, were welcome. However, she differed with the announcement that the cases would be investigated by women SIs and that women lawyers would be appointed as Government Pleaders to handle the sexual offence cases before the Fast Track Mahila Courts. “Whether the person was a male or female would be immaterial; the police officer or the lawyer involved in these cases should be sensitised in gender issues,” she said.
Ramalingam said the police should be trained to conduct the investigation in a more scientific manner. Collecting evidence from the scene of crime, sending them to the forensic department on time and getting the witnesses depose before the courts properly were enough to punish the culprits. In many cases, the accused got acquitted due to loopholes. She further said many sexual offence cases ended in the acquittal of the accused because the witnesses turned hostile. The police could take action against them for this but they often failed to do so. The investigation should be time-bound and transparent. She also opined that arresting the accused under the Goondas Act would not be of much help.
Advocate Geetha Ramaseshan said the administrative directives issued by the CM were welcome measures but their efficacy would be known only if they were implemented at the grass-roots level by the police.
Welcoming the measures, Advocate Ajitha said most of them were concentrating on what should be done after the crime. If more preventive measures would be announced, it would be great, she added. Ajitha said publishing photographs and details of the sexual offence victim was a crime. But the police had been providing these details. The CM should issue a categorical warning to the police in this regard, she added.
Meanwhile, NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma termed Jayalalithaa’s decisions good. “If all these measures are followed, there will certainly be a decrease in the crime rate,” she said in Delhi, pitching for harsher punishment for rape.