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SC gives priority to women safety pleas

New Delhi, Jan. 2: The Supreme Court has agreed to take up tomorrow two PILs seeking a series of directives to the Centre and states to ensure the Delhi gang rape isn’t repeated.

“Yes, we know the matter is serious. You file your petition we will take it up for hearing tomorrow,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said after the petitioners’ lawyers raised the matter immediately after court assembled this morning following a 15-day Christmas recess.

The first plea, filed by a former IAS officer, Promilla Shanker, seeks curtailment of security for VVIPs to spare forces for protection to women and children, besides prosecution of MPs/MLAs accused in rape and murder cases on a priority basis, followed by disqualification if found guilty.

The second petition, by social activist Omika Dubey, says the apex court should pass orders for disposal of rape cases within two months and appointment of additional judges.

In her petition, Promilla cited the December 16 “barbaric” gang rape in a bus to argue the fundamental rights of citizens under Article 14 (right to equality) and 21 (liberty) of the Constitution were being infringed as children and women of the country were feeling unsafe.

The petition cited some reports to claim a woman was raped every 40 minutes in different part of the country — that, too, when 90 per cent of the cases remained unregistered.

“Punitive actions are being taken only after (such) incidents are reported by media and no preventive, reformatory or systematic improvements are being made by respondents (the central and state governments),” Promilla said in the petition. She added that people were getting frustrated by the lack of deterrent effect of laws on criminals.

Promila’s petition also sought the removal of police security to private persons with criminal backgrounds, saying it was not only discriminatory but also causing danger to the common people”.

She then listed some other safety measures and requested the apex court to ask the Centre and the states to follow them.

Suspension of tainted police and officials charged with rape and murder, sacking if convicted

Ensure welfare of minor girls and women victims who have given birth due to rape

Cancellation of bail of habitual rape offenders

National Register of convicted sex offenders (the Centre has announced such a move last week)

Women cops to probe rapes and other crimes against women, lady judges for such trials

The second petitioner, Dubey, sought directives to subordinate courts to check delaying tactics by rejecting requests for “undue and long adjournments”, and mandatory compensation for rape victims.