NEW DELHI: Citing the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo moto cognizance of the issue of making criminal justice system more efficient towards rape and other sexual offences. The apex court seeks to examine the last-bit details in rape cases and sought a comprehensive report on the law's implementation.
The top court expressed shock at the 2017 report of National Crime Records Bureau which said that a total of 32,559 cases of rape were registered in India.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, also called for status report on the utilisation of the Nirbhaya Fund by Centre or state governments for the purposes envisioned.
The court said its order was intended to "collate all the information and status and provide a holistic view of implementation of provisions of law and to suggest measures for making the criminal justice system more efficacious and responsive towards the offence of rape and other sexual offences".
Referring to Nirbhaya case, it said that delay in such cases created agitation, anxiety and unrest in the minds of the people, and this case is not an isolated case where it has taken so long to reach finality. Under such circumstances, the court observed that it is forced to call for a ground report from various duty-holders like investigation agencies, prosecution, medico-forensic agencies, rehabilitation, and legal aid agencies and courts to get a holistic view to make criminal justice system responsive in such cases.
"In the year 2013, a separate fund, namely Nirbhaya Fund, for projects of women safety to support initiatives by the government and NGOs was created, and it is important to inform ourselves how far has the purpose of setting up the fund been achieved," said the court seeking a status report.
The top court observed the victim undergoes mental trauma and requires immediate counselling, legal aid and medical, social and in some cases, economic rehabilitation also. It called for a status report on six parameters - whether courts recommended compensation in appropriate cases, was the compensation provided in time-bound manner, the implementation of the scheme of rehabilitation of rape victim, whether legal services authorities formulated schemes for social, medical and economic rehabilitation of the victims, state policy on counselling of the victims, and whether there are any counselling/rehabilitation centres in existence for the victims of rape.
The top court appointed senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, as amicus curiae in the matter. The court has sought response and status report by February 7, 2020 from the Chief Secretaries and the Directors General of Police of all states and UTs, and the Registrar General of all the High Courts.