NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani said on Saturday she was "enraged" that the death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case were making a "mockery of justice" by their delaying tactics and asserted that urgent steps were required to stop it.
"We need to go a step forward, especially with regard to the conviction rates. What we saw in the Nirbhaya case and it is happening.
"The fact that rapists can throw caution to the winds, the fact that they can laugh in the face of justice is a fact that enrages me no end," she said inaugurating a national conference on women in police and Central Armed Police Forces, organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).
The Union women and child development minister said urgent steps are needed to ensure that such "mockery of justice" does not take place anymore.
"Since the issue (Nirbhaya case) has not come to end, I will request the MHA that after the hanging of these convicts, all arms of the government need to sit down along with the judiciary to see to it that once evidence has been collected and once a decision has been made by courts, this mockery of justice does not happen," Irani said.
A trial court in Delhi issued fresh warrants on Thursday with March 20, 5.30 am, as the date for the execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts -- Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) after a series of mercy petitions and pleas being filed by them were rejected.
The execution of their death warrants has been deferred thrice so far due to delays by them in exhausting legal remedies.
All the convicts in the case are to be hanged together.
At the conference, she urged the BPRD, a police think-tank under the home ministry, to help her ministry in framing procedures to ensure that children of under-trial women are helped so that they do not suffer.
"These children have no role in the crime committed and I would like to offer the services of my ministry to BPRD so that a joint effort in this context is undertaken as it is the need of the hour," Irani said.
Similar steps need to be taken to improve the condition of under-trial women in jails, she said.
The minister added that a "historic" step is being taken with regard to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, in conjunction with the BPRD, NIMHANS and NALSAR, as these organisations will soon go to each district of the country to engage with every stakeholder in this domain.
Irani said her ministry has also sanctioned procurement of forensic kits, as requested by the BPRD, under the Nirbhaya fund.
She asked the police think-tank to help in framing of standard operating procedures for about 700 one-stop centres that act as the first point of contact for female victims across the country.
BPRD Director General V S K Kaumudi said, "Individuals with criminal mindset misuse the cyber platform for targeting women through Internet."
"Crime against women are often un-reported and even if they are reported they do not end up in conviction," the BPRD chief said, adding that the conviction rate of women-centric cyber crimes in 2018 was only 15.6 per cent.