NEW DELHI: Delhi Commission for Women is mulling increasing the number of lawyers in its Rape Crisis Cell (RCC) to expedite proceedings for ensuring justice in such cases, its newly appointed chief Swati Maliwal said today.
A day after taking over as the DCW chief, Maliwal took stock of the functioning of the commission and found that the role of lawyers in the Rape Crisis Cell and counsellors in the Crisis Intervention Centre, need to be improved.
"I had called a meeting of the officials today and got to know that we have just six lawyers who assist the legal counsels of the rape victims. They have their own practice too and it is not feasible for this small number to take care of cases in all the areas across Delhi," Maliwal told PTI.
"We are considering an increase in the number of lawyers here and divide them area-wise," she added.
Rape Crisis Cell was set up by DCW in 2005 to provide free legal assistance to rape victims.
A team of persons supervised by experienced lawyers provides legal services. The RCC assists the prosecutor in the trial, opposes the bail application of the accused and facilitates recording of the statement.
Maliwal, also said that she has asked for a report about the functioning of the Crisis Intervention Centre, which takes into account cases of sexual assault and provides counselling to rape victims.
"These counsellors have two more responsibilities, to get the statement recorded and ensure that the medico-legal case (MLC) is done. I have asked for a report on as to how many cases have been handled and how many are pending. Based on the report, I will take a call whether we need more counsellors," she said.
Mailwal said that the helpline at RCC was not functioning and she ordered it to be rectified immediately.
"How can victims approach us if the helpline is not functioning? I have ordered it to be restored immediately," she said.
She said that as chairperson, she will set up a committee comprising international, national and state experts to prepare a blueprint for making Delhi a safe city for women.
"I have also discussed in today's meeting about developing some monitoring mechanism for both Rape Crisis Cell and Crisis Intervention Centre," she said.
About the stabbing of a 19-year-old girl in Anand Parbat area last week, Maliwal said, "I have sought a time for meeting Lt Governor Najeeb Jung following which we will decide the commission's future course of action in this regard".