New Delhi, Nov. 14: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Delhi government and the police commissioner on the spate of rapes in the capital.
A division bench of Chief Justice V.. Khare and Justice S.B. Sinha described the situation in Delhi as “very serious”. It was acting on a petition filed by social activist group Nari Raksha Samiti, which sought a directive to the authorities concerned to take steps that will ensure women can live with dignity.
The samiti’s public interest litigation was “mentioned” during “mention hour” by senior advocate Fali Nariman, who suggested that a committee comprising the Union home ministry, the Delhi government, police representatives and social activists should review the crime situation rather than have a “committee of bureaucrats” go into the issue.
“Something has to be done” because incidents of rape and other crimes, those against women in particular, “are happening in the national capital regularly”, the judges said. They asked the court registry to list the matter “at the earliest” for further hearings.
The petition listed a series of rape cases in Delhi — the Khooni Darwaza case in which a medical student was assaulted at a busy roadside in broad daylight, the rape of a teenage patient by a doctor, the assault on a student by Rashtrapati Bhavan security personnel at Buddha Jayanti Garden and the rape of a Swiss diplomat.
It was the duty of a modern welfare state to protect all its citizens, especially women and children, the petition said. The democratically elected government should ensure that the life and dignity of a woman were not infringed upon and that every woman worked in a safe environment without fear.
“The ordeal of a woman in the national capital, on and off the roads, in buses, college campuses, deserted roads, movie theatres, parks.... the list is never ending.... is not a short sordid saga,” the petition said.
It suggested that a permanent co-ordination committee comprising representatives of the Union home ministry, Delhi government, Delhi police and social activists should be formed to review the crime situation and take remedial measures. Law and order in the capital is in the charge of the Union government.
The petitioners also sought a ban on advertisements of “friendship clubs”, “massage parlours” and “women guides” and a directive to parking lot contractors to employ security guards round the clock. The number of police patrol vans should be increased and each should have at least one woman constable, they said.
“Primary schools should be directed to include in their curriculum sex education so that children are educated to respect the fair sex and not to view women as objects of sex,” the petition said.