Expeditious trial of cases has to be ensured by making necessary changes in procedure. States must create a separate investigation cadre. Separate prosecution cadre is also required. This was stated by the Union Home Minister Sh. P. Chidambaram at the Consultative Committee meeting of the Ministry of Home Affairs which discussed the topic: Investigation, Prosecution & Trial – the need for revamping. He informed members that Law Commission of India has been requested to give a report on the amendments required immediately. He said the Department- related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs while examining the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2010 in its 146th Report has recommended that there should be comprehensive review of the Criminal Justice System and introduction of composite draft legislation for revamping of the Criminal Justice System in the country. Accordingly, Ministry of Law & Justice have been requested to request the Law Commission of India to examine and give a comprehensive report covering all aspects of criminal law, so that comprehensive amendments could be made in the various laws viz. IPC, Cr.P.C., Evidence Act, etc. It was also suggested that the Law Commission of India may also, inter-alia, take into account the recommendations made by Malimath Committee & other Committee/Commission in this regard. The recommendations of the Law Commission of India in this regard are awaited.
While initiating the discussion, the Union Home Minister said, the investigation has moved to technology based evidence, new forensic tools are used by other countries. We also need to move towards it. He said the Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System, constituted on 24.11.2000 under the Chairmanship of Justice V. Malimath, former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High Courts, considered measures for revamping the criminal justice system and gave recommendations on various aspects of the criminal justice system including investigation, prosecution and the trial procedure in its Report submitted in March, 2003. Since the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure are on the Concurrent List of Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India and the same are administered by the State Governments, any amendment to them requires consultation with the State Governments. In view of this, the report was forwarded to the State Governments and Union Territories Administrations to obtain their views/comments.
The Law Commission of India also reviewed the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in its 154th Report. The 197th Report of the Law Commission of India examined the issues relating to appointment of Public Prosecutor. The view of the State Governments/Union Territory administration on recommendation of Law Commission have been sought. Some of the issues relating to investigation, prosecution and trial procedure highlighted in these reports are:
The Investigation Wing should be separated from the Law and Order Wing. A separate wing of the investigation with clear mandate and it is accountable only to Rule of Law is the needed. The Law Commission of India specifically discussed this issue threadbare in its 154th Report and categorically recommended for separating the investigating agency from the law and order police. Placement policy of investigating staff, inadequate training, Comprehensive use of Forensic Science from the inception and problems related to Medico Legal Services were highlighted.
Several measures have been suggested to improve the quality of investigation. Interrogation centres should be set up at district headquarters in each district where they do not exist and strengthened where they exist. A mechanism for coordination amongst investigators, forensic experts and prosecutors at the State at district level for effective investigations and prosecutions should be devised. A suitable provision be made to exclude the period during which the accused is not available for investigation on grounds of health etc. for computing the permissible period of police custody. Refusal to entertain complaints regarding commission of any offence should be made punishable. Stringent punishment for false registration of cases & false complaints.
Members highlighted that the common man suffers as the manner in which police investigation is conducted is of critical importance to the functioning of the criminal justice system. A prompt and quality investigation is the foundation of an effective criminal justice system. They also raised the issue of non-registration of cases by police in some cases. On this, Sh. P. Chidambaram informed Members that in Delhi all but sensitive FIRs are on website. The members also called for separate cadres for investigation work and prosecution.
Police/SJPU – how they can choose to be an adversary or a friend of Children in Need of Care & Protection and Juvenile in Conflict with Law
SUMAN NALWA , ADDL DCP / SPUWC -DELHI POLICE
For any social and reformative legislation to be successful, it requires not just the good law but dedicated and motivated functionaries of the criminal justice system as well as the administrative wings of the govt in addition to responsive and responsible society. In the absence of these prerequisite, the law is but just a piece of paper and can never hope to make the impact it was intended to make.
The same stands true for our Juvenile Justice system as well. the object of juvenile justice system is prevention (ensuring that children do not come in conflict with the law), diversion (that children are kept away from formal criminal justice system and into community based and restorative processes to prevent repeat delinquency), protection ( of CICL from human rights violations and the children from exploitation and abuse). the mission being to not to simply punish the violators but to help the young violators of law to get back in the society on the right path. The focus being to look into the complexity of the life situation of the child and thus offering commensurate rehab program in the best interest of the child. Further, in case of CNCP, to reach out to them and ensure their proper care and rehabilitation. Thus ensuring aftercare and reintegration of all the children who have been left out, back into the society.
Considering these objectives, it was felt that the existing machinery was not in sync with the need of the children and that it requires a separate juvenile justice system which will cater to the specific needs of the children through a sensitive police, informal and flexible judiciary ready to intervene in the best interest of the child and institutions who are well equipped to design and implement the individual rehab and reintegration programs.
At the police level, a separate system of Juvenile Welfare Officers at the Police Station level, Special Juvenile Police Units at the District levels and State Nodal Unit at the state level were set up to upgrade the treatment meted out to the children at the hands of police to a more humane and sensitive approach. The Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards were also set up to look into the best interest of the child. However it has to be understood that the Juvenile Justice Act is a social legislation, aimed at changing the way our children get treated in the society and the system, and just putting the administrative structure alone is not enough to reach the goals set up by the JJ Legislation, it requires corresponding change in behavior as well as mindset at all levels to make a real impact in the life of a child.
From the police perspective, the JJ act lays down the groundwork of what police is expected to do or work in a given set of circumstance relating to children who are in need of care and protection as well as those in conflict of law, that they are specially instructed and trained and have an aptitude to handle the children. The rules go further and extols the police agency to be proactive. the rules bring out the proactive approach by making SJPUs the watch dog for providing legal protection against all kinds of cruelty, abuse and exploitation of child or juvenile and to take serious cognizance of adult perpetrators of crimes against children in addition to other duties mentioned thereof.
Role of police under the JJ Act
Police plays a substantial role in the juvenile justice system be it vis a vis the child in need of care and protection (CNCP) or the child in conflict with law (CICL). How it plays this role i.e., by taking the child along , in his best interest or considering him as any regular criminal or a victim depends on their level of sensitivity and commitment. In almost all the cases of CNCP as well as CICL, the police are usually the first point of contact with the child. This is indeed an important role as it means that the police officer, invariably the first contact point, now determines whether the child becomes the part of the juvenile justice system to begin with or not. And what kind of intervention the officer is going to make in the situation vis a vis the child often determines the future of this child.
The jj act and the modal rules lays specific duties for the police especially SJPUs vis a vis children such as to upgrade the police treatment of all juveniles and the children (Section 63), to coordinate and function as a watch dog for providing legal protection against all kinds of cruelty, abuse and exploitation of child or juvenile (rule 84(5)), to take serious cognizance of adult perpetrators of crimes against children and to see to it that they are without delay apprehended and booked under the appropriate provisions of the law (rule 84(6)), identifying CICL and CNCP in association with civil society(rule 84(7)) to name the few.
Child in Need of Care and Prptection: The specific role of police in how to address the situation when a child victim comes within their jurisdiction, is laid down in CrPC as well as JJ Act. This is more the procedural part which at best is but a skeletal and has to be augmented by the right attitude and inclination to do whatever is required in the best interest of the child. The police however, has historically and from the nature if its work profile is more inclined towards law and order and has more of crime criminal orientation. The change from crime and criminal orientation to victim orientation needs loads of efforts, interest and dedication in addition to a sensitized and dedicated police force. Whether it’s a case of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of the child, whether the child has been exploited for his work, whether the child is a street child with nowhere to go, a beggar, whether this child who is in need of care and protection of the law comes within the purview of law requires a sensitive citizen who is ready to intervene as well as a sensitive police force which is duty bound to take such children within its cudgels so that the JJ system becomes operational . These children invariably cannot stand up for themselves and need all the support possible to access to the services available to them under the law. The children being children are afraid of the formal system be it the police which goes to rescue them or the judicial system and the children homes where they are taken. At that point a soft and sensitive approach wherein the child can trust and find a friend and a guide in police will definitely mean a new life for the child and give him courage to break out of the shackles and rise towards a better destiny in addition to helping the police to nail the culprits.
There have been instances where in the children were so afraid of police with stories as well as image of police brutality that it often took lot of time to allay their fears and establish a congenial rapport with them, remove that hostility and build a confidence that police is acting in their best interest.
Child in Conflict with Law
First of all it has to be realized that any interaction with a juvenile delinquent is an opportunity to prevent him from committing the crime again. This missed opportunity often leads to juveniles downslide into involvement in repeated, serious and often violent crimes.
The jj act gives lot of discretion to police while dealing with children. The very concept of giving the discretion is so that the police person can act responsibly in the best interest of the child. As stated earlier, the police at the first point of contact with CICL and decides whether the child will be a part of criminal justice system at all or not. Thus the most important decisions in law enforcement are made by the police officers. At this point of contact is required the most balanced and appropriate response.
Under the JJ Act there are three categories of juvenile offenders, firstly those involved in petty offences where in the police officer has been given the discretion to sort the matter at the PS itself without resorting to any procedural requirements. The second category is of juveniles involved in non serious offences i.e. those entailing punishment of less than 7 years under the IPC. In this category the police officer can apprehend the juvenile only when it is in his best interest and then also can state that the child be treated as CNCP rather than the one in conflict with law. In serious offences wherein the punishment is more than 7 years, the police officer again has discretion on how he wants to treat the child. Thus the discretion comes with a responsibility to see to it that the police child encounter results in a positive intervention.
What is required to fulfill the objectives of JJ Act is sensitive, proactive and dedicated policing wherein the theory can be converted into practice because on the police interaction lies the outcome of a situation as well as the future of the child. Now the question that arises is how to make the force proactive? what are the kind of officers who are becoming JWOs? what is there orientation and interest? what are the perks and resources available with the commensurate challenges in handling juveniles?
Till these questions are dealt with, we have to make do with getting the job done through administrative directions and strict supervision. Thus we need to develop code of conduct for police personal in the lines of SOPs while dealing with children in different situations. Next step is involving the society at large. We need to rope in NGOs, other public spirited individuals, RWAs and other institutions like state legal service authorities which not only help the police agencies but also act as checks through their feedback mechanisms.
In Delhi Police, the SJPUs were created in each and every district. To bring about attitudinal and behavioral changes, training and sensitization programs were conducted for police officers at two level i.e., the police station level for all the functionaries at all level who are working in the field and at State level for all the JWOs of the Police stations. The idea was to have a sensitized police force at all levels including the field staff that invariably were the first point of contact with the child. The unique part of the police station sensitization programs is that it is being done by the NGOs working in the field of child rights. The NGOs resource persons visit the police stations regularly and interact with the police staff at all levels thus bringing in an outsiders perspective on how Delhi police is responding to children issues.
In addition to this we have an excellent networking with governmental as well as nongovernmental organizations working on child rights. It is a kind of symbiotic relationship wherein both are working for a common goal in an atmosphere of trust, support and mutual respect. The end result is that NGOs and other organizations now work hand in hand with police in the best interest of the child.
PROBLEMS FACED BY POLICE in performing their duties vis a vis children
One of the major problem faced is that there is still no separate exclusive JWO or SJPU in the distt. Role conflict and lack of time as well as lack of logistic support affect the expectations from the police as the time and patience required to deal with the child is seldom there. Some of the other problems faced are
- the need for specialized training for appropriate handling of children
- the role conflict experienced by the police officer in solving a crime and helping the child.
- low community participation in addressing juvenile delinquency.
- poor police image and perception makes it difficult to establish a rapport with the child and to work within the community with mutual trust and goals.
- police has very little intervention or say when it comes to the orders for release or incarcerations given by the JJBs. police rarely has any role in the after release processes that too when rules state that juvenile delinquency prevention is also one of the role of the JWO. Infect some of the orders of JJB have criticized the police officer from visiting the juvenile offender.
- the important point is that the positive efforts of the police do not get reflected in their output as it is measured more on crime and law and order data thus the stakes or value additions for taking on this additional work is not there in our tangible goal oriented organization as well as society.
Need of the hour is to deal with juvenile delinquency and cncp in a holistic manner, addressing at risk families so that preventive strategy can be put in place. At present there are not enough institutions and programs to help the delinquents to re-integrate in society and lead the life without crime. At times the trust that they can indeed successfully do so is also missing. Recently prayas has taken up this initiative and have started a program “yuva connect” in this regard.
Police actions have to be accompanied by actions from other institutions. Police has a limited role and cannot make any promises vis a vis resources, professional counseling and reintegration and on its own has nothing much to offer. What is required is a holistic interdepartmental approach in dealing with the delinquent and preventing them in future. In the absence of any concrete and effective rehab program and liberal courts and the fact that the repeat offenders are ever increasing, forming gangs, becoming hardened and getting involved in heinous crimes, there is chronic frustration in the police and thus the whole JJ system appears to be more symbolic than actually addressing the issue of juvenile delinquency.
Also we need to inculcate responsibility in the juvenile for his acts and omissions, the intervention of JWO should be encouraged to ensure that juveniles do not return to crime. The community service should be encouraged for reparation of their wrongs and last but not the least there is a need to develop competencies to develop the delinquents as productive citizens.
Paper delivered by Ms. Suman Nalwa, Addl.DCP/SPUW&C, Nanak Pura, New Delhi to National Seminar on Access to Justice-What it means to a child on 9th & 10th July, 2011 at Hall No. 6, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi
- National Leader in Juvenile Justice Poised to Release New Report (prweb.com)
- Govt passes order to rein in errant agencies (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- Child rescued, but not rehabilitated (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- 23 kids rescued, 5 held for abduction (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- Juvenile Justice Leader Releases Interactive U.S. Data Map Revealing Racial Disparities by State (prweb.com)
- The state of America’s children (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- “Should A Juvenile Ever Be Sentenced To Life Without Parole?” and related posts (lawinfo.com)
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Forensic Exams Should Respect Survivors’ Rights to Health, Privacy, and Dignity
(Mumbai) – Many Indian hospitals routinely subject rape survivors to forensic examinations that include the unscientific and degrading “finger” test, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. It urged the Indian government to ban the practice, used to determine whether the rape survivor is “habituated” to sexual intercourse, as it reforms its laws on sexual violence. The 54-page report, “Dignity on Trial: India’s Need for Sound Standards for Conducting and Interpreting Forensic Examinations of Rape Survivors,” documents the continued use of the archaic practice and the continued reliance on the “results” by many defense counsel and courts. The practice, described in outdated medical jurisprudence textbooks used by many doctors, lawyers, and judges, involves a doctor inserting fingers in a rape victim’s vagina to determine the presence or absence of the hymen and the so-called “laxity” of the vagina. These findings perpetuate false and damaging stereotypes of rape survivors as “loose” women. Defense attorneys use the findings to challenge the credibility, character, and the lack of consent of the survivors.
“This test is yet another assault on a rape survivor, placing her at risk of further humiliation,” said Aruna Kashyap, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Indian government should heed demands of Indian activists to abolish this degrading and useless practice.”Finger test findings are scientifically baseless because an “old tear” of the hymen or variation of the “size” of the hymenal orifice can be due to reasons unrelated to sex. Carried out without informed consent, the test would constitute an assault, and is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment, Human Rights Watch said.”I was so scared and nervous and praying all the time: ‘God, let this be over and let me get out of here fast,” the report quotes one rape survivor as saying as she described her experience of a forensic examination.
The Indian government amended its evidence law in 2003 to prohibit cross-examination of survivors based on their “general immoral character.” The Indian Supreme Court, whose decisions are binding, has described opinions based on the finger test as “hypothetical and opinionative,” and has ruled that they cannot be used against a rape survivor.Although these developments have helped curtail the practice, the Indian government has yet to take steps to ensure that all states eliminate it. There are no nationwide guidelines or programs to standardize forensic examinations and to train and sensitize doctors, police, prosecutors, and judges to survivors’ rights. But the Indian government is currently reviewing laws regarding sexual violence, presenting a unique opportunity for change.
“The Indian government has paid little attention to how health care and forensic services are delivered to survivors of sexual violence,” Kashyap said. “The Indian government should set right this injustice with a comprehensive policy and program for such services.”The report is based on 44 interviews in Mumbai and Delhi with activists, rape survivors and their parents, prosecutors, other lawyers, judges, doctors, and forensic experts. Research also included a review of forensic examination templates used in those cities, and an analysis of 153 High Court judgments on rape that referred to the finger test findings from 18 states. It finds that the finger test-related information continues to be collected and used.
Forensic examinations are a harrowing experience for many rape survivors, who are shunted from one hospital or ward to another for various aspects of the examination. Often doctors insist that the survivor must make a police complaint when she approaches them directly, which can intimidate her. Further, inserting fingers into the vaginal or anal orifice of an adult or child survivor of sexual violence during a forensic examination can cause additional trauma, as it not only mimics the abuse but can also be painful. Some doctors in India conduct the finger test with little or no regard for a survivor’s pain or trauma, Human Rights Watch found.
Many High Court judgments reveal that doctors have testified in court that having one or two fingers inserted into the vagina is “painful” or “very painful” for the survivor. And when the survivor did not experience any pain – if two fingers could be inserted “painlessly” or “easily” – then she was described as being “habituated to sex.””Survivors of sexual violence have the right to legal recourse without being further traumatized in the process,” Kashyap said. “The health and criminal justice systems should work together to ensure that they do not perpetuate damaging stereotypes of survivors.”
The Maharashtra and Delhi governments continue to recommend the finger test in their forensic examination templates. For example, as recently as June 2010, the Maharashtra state government introduced a standard forensic examination template that includes a series of questions about the hymen, including the number of fingers that can be admitted into the hymenal orifice. Early this year, the Delhi government introduced a forensic examination template that asks questions about the hymen, including whether it is “intact” or “torn,” the “size of the hymenal orifice,” whether the vagina is “roomy” or “narrow” and has “old tears,” and even asks the examining doctor to give an opinion whether the survivor was “habituated to sex.” Much of the Delhi template resembles a template created by the Indian Medical Association and disseminated to doctors across the country between 2006 and 2008.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence” recommends that health care and forensic services be provided at the same time, and by the same person, to reduce the potential for duplicating questions and further traumatizing the survivor of sexual assault. It states that health and welfare of a survivor of sexual violence is “the overriding priority” and that forensic services should not take precedence over health needs. It also says forensic examinations should be minimally invasive to the extent possible and that even a purely clinical procedure such as a bimanual examination (which also involves the insertion of two fingers into the vagina) is rarely medically necessary after sexual assault.
The Indian government should use its ongoing reform process for laws relating to sexual violence to prohibit the finger test and standardize the medical treatment and forensic examinations of survivors of sexual violence in line with the rights to health, privacy, dignity, and legal remedy, Human Rights Watch said. The government should introduce special programs to sensitize doctors, police, prosecutors, and judges to the rights of survivors, and set up multidisciplinary teams in every government hospital with doctors trained to be sensitive to survivors and with training and equipment to conduct forensic examinations in a manner that respects survivors’ rights.
Sample Testimony From the Report
The clerk told me a male doctor will conduct the test [forensic examination] and asked me whether that was ok. I said “yes.” But other than that, I did not know what they were going to do. I was so scared and nervous and praying all the time: “God, let this be over and let me get out of here fast.” I did not even know it was going to be like a delivery examination [an internal gynecological examination].
– Sandhya S. (name changed), adult rape survivor, Mumbai, August 2, 2010
In cases of very young girls – girls below [age] 12 or 13 – they [police officers and hospital staff] believe it is a case of sexual abuse. But if they are older, then they believe that the girl is trying to falsely frame someone. Their belief changes the way they address the survivors. They are very rude and disrespectful. They will say things like, “Why are you crying?” “You have only been raped.” “You are not dead.” “Go sit over there.” And order them around.
– Dr. Rajat Mitra, director, Swanchetan, a nongovernmental organization that provides counseling services to rape survivors, Delhi, May 25, 2010
Where the defense takes the line that there was consent [to sexual intercourse], usually they also look to medical evidence for support. And if the medical report says anything about the finger test, then they draw it out in court – saying she was “habituated” so consented and is falsely implicating the accused.
– Dev D. (name changed to maintain anonymity as requested) a former public prosecutor, New Delhi, May 22, 2010
The finger test is relevant for the defense especially if the prosecutrix [term used to refer to a rape survivor during trial] case is that the woman is unmarried [as opposed to a married woman who is assumed to be “habituated to sex”]. Then if the medical report says that two fingers have passed, the defense can show that she is habituated. This shakes the testimony of the prosecutrix.
– Radha M. (name changed to protect identity), a former chief public prosecutor, location withheld, May 11, 2010
Sample Extracts From Judgments
“Though the girl was aged about 20 to 23 years and was unmarried but she was found to be “habituated to intercourse.” This makes her to be of doubtful character.”
– Jharkhand High Court, 2006
“She was complaining pain and the vagina was admitting 1½ finger [sic] …. From the medical report it is clear that the prosecutrix was not a girl of lax moral and she was not “habituated to sexual intercourse” and most probably, that was her first experience as the doctor has observed reddishness on her vagina and blood secretion and pain on touching the vagina.”
– Chhattisgarh High Court, 2007
FROM THE HINDU
Making a woman’s sexual experience the basis for judging her moral character can have a disastrous impact not only on a rape trial, but more importantly, on the victim’s well-being. Stereotypes about sex and morality are continually evoked in Indian courts at all levels. In 2009, the Supreme Court stated the victim “appears to be a lady used to sexual intercourse and a dissolute lady.” Acquitting the accused for lack of medical evidence, the Patna High Court said, “Though the girl was aged about 20 to 23 years and was unmarried, she was found to be “habituated to intercourse.” This makes her to be of doubtful character.”
The observations are from a report titled ‘Dignity on Trial: India’s Need for Sound Standards for Conducting and Interpreting Forensic Examinations of Rape Survivors’ by the organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Released on Monday, the report “discusses the problems posed by one of the most archaic forensic procedures still in use: the finger test — a practice where the examining doctor notes the presence or absence of the hymen and the size and so-called laxity of the vagina of the rape survivor.” It’s a procedure that mimics the act of rape, further aggravating the victim’s trauma. Terming it “degrading,” “inhuman” and “unscientific,” the study calls for a ban on the finger test as a method for collecting medical evidence in rape cases. “[It] is supposed to assess whether girls and women are ‘virgins’ or ‘habituated to sexual intercourse.’ Yet it does none of this,” the report states. At a press conference here on Monday, Aruna Kashyap, women’s rights researcher at HRW and author of the report said, “The test has potential for re-traumatising the victim. We decided to do a report on the finger test because of certain regressive developments in the country recently.”
“The Maharashtra and Delhi governments continue to recommend the finger test in their forensic examination templates. For example, in June 2010, the Maharashtra government introduced a template that includes a series of questions about the hymen, including the number of fingers that can be admitted into the hymenal orifice,” she said.
The apex court has described the test as “hypothetical and opinionative.” Secondly, “it has clearly and repeatedly held that showing that a survivor is ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ is immaterial to the issue of consent in a rape trial.”
Despite these rulings, opinions on the victim’s sexual experience are routinely sought. They play a role in shaping the attitude of the police, medical professionals and courts. Ms. Kashyap said the root of misinformation lay in outdated textbooks on medical jurisprudence. “The Supreme Court’s decision on the test should be included in the textbooks,” she said.
Absence of definition
“The absence of a comprehensive definition of sexual violence in Indian law has also hindered the prosecution of various sexual offences, resulting in acquittals or inadequate punishments for convicted criminals,” it observes. Pointing to the rigidity of the criminal justice system, noted women rights lawyer Flavia Agnes pointed to the functioning of a deeper ideology. “Non-biased legal opinion is always biased against the woman. As if medical status has a moral character. Virginity becomes a criterion for truthfulness or character? Is it the same with, say, anaemia?” she asked. World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines stipulate minimally invasive procedures and “non-invasive” ones for prepubescent girls and boys. The report stresses the need to train and sensitise medical professionals in collecting and documenting forensic evidence in sexual offences. This report is based on HRW’s research between April 10 and August 10, 2010, in Delhi and Mumbai. The observations rest on 44 interviews with activists, rape survivors and their parents, prosecutors, other lawyers, judges, doctors and forensic experts in Mumbai and Delhi.
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA/BHARAT SARKAR
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS/GRIH MANTRALAYA NORTH BLOCK NEW DELHI /CS DIVISION
Dated the 14th July, 2010
ADVISORY ON CRIME AGAINST CHILDREN
1. ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. The Union Government, however, attaches the highest importance to the prevention of crime and, therefore, the Union Government has been advising the State Governments/ UT Administrations from time to time to give more focused attention to the administration of the criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime.
2. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has been undertaking visits to various States and has observed that the level of sensitiveness and care with which crime against children should be handled is not up to the desired level. In its Fifth Report, titled ‘Public Order’, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission has also emphasized the need to combat crimes against vulnerable sections of the society, particularly women and children.
3. The Government of India is deeply concerned about crime against children and would, therefore, advise the State Governments and UT Administrations to take the following steps for effective prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of all crimes against children within their jurisdiction:-
I. Vigorously enforce all the existing legislations relating to crime against children i.e., Prohibition of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (as amended in 2006), Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2006, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended in 2008) and relevant sections of IPC.
II. Sensitize the law enforcement machinery, i.e. the police as well as other functionaries of the criminal justice system, towards crime against children by way of well-structured training programmes. Such training programmes, including inputs on Juvenile Justice (JJ) and Human Rights (HR), may also be incorporated in the syllabi of various Police Training Academies at all levels including those for Constables, Sub-Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents of Police. Assistance of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) as well as National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) could be taken for this purpose.
III. Set up exclusive ‘Crime against Women/Children’ desks in each police station. There should be no delay, whatsoever, in registration of FIRs in all cases of crime against children. All out efforts should be made to apprehend all the accused named in the FIR immediately so as to generate confidence in the victims and their family members. The administration and police should play a more proactive role in detection and investigation of crime against children and also ensuring that there is no under reporting.
IV. Cases of crime against children should be thoroughly investigated and charge sheets against the accused persons should be filed within three months from the date of occurrence without compromising on the quality of investigation. Proper supervision of such cases should be ensured from recording of FIR to the disposal of the case. Speedy investigation should be conducted in heinous crimes like rape, murder etc. The medical examination of rape victims should be conducted without delay.
V. Steps may be taken not only to tackle such crimes but also to deal sensitively with the trauma ensuing the crime. Counselling to the victim as well as to the family may be provided by empanelling professional counsellors.
VI. Ensure all steps for improving the safety conditions in schools/ institutions, public transport used by students, children’s parks/ play grounds, residential localities/ roads etc. Crime prone areas should be identified and a mechanism be put in place to monitor infractions in such areas for ensuring the safety and security of students, especially girls. For this purpose the following steps should be taken:
a. Increase the number of beat constables;
b. Increase the number of police help booths/ kiosks, especially in remote and lonely stretches;
c. Increase police patrolling, especially during nights;
d. Posting police officers, especially women, fully equipped with policing infrastructure in crime-prone areas in adequate number.
VII. For improving general awareness about legislations relating to crime against children and mechanisms in place for safety and protection of the children, the following steps may be considered :
a. Creating awareness through print and electronic media;
b. Involving the community at large in creating and spreading such awareness.
c. Exploring the possibility of associating NGOs working in the area of combating crime against children and other vulnerable sections of the society.
d. Developing a community monitoring system to check cases of violence, abuse and exploitation against children and take necessary steps to curb the same;
VIII. The local police must be advised to collaborate with the ‘Childline-1098 Service’ (which is an emergency service being operated by the Childline India Foundation (CIF) all over the country catering to the needs of children in emergency situations) and NGOs for mutual help and assistance wherever and whenever required.
IX. The juvenile offenders should be dealt with only in accordance with law through proper implementation of the Rules under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (as amended in 2006), as these contain the procedures and requirements in detail for dealing with children in conflict with law as well as children in need of care and protection.
X. All efforts must be made to stop child labour and exploitation of children in all its forms and manifestations. Law enforcement agencies must extend all necessary cooperation to the State Labour Department in the cases of violation of Prohibition of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.
XI. To save the children from the abuse/ crime of child marriage the State Government must appoint Child Marriage Prohibition Officers as required under the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2006. They should also set up State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights in accordance with the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005 (CPCRAct).
The receipt of this letter may kindly be acknowledged.
(Dr. Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi)
Joint Secretary to the Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
North Block, New Delhi-110 001
The Chief Secretaries &
The Principal Secretary / Secretary (Home)
All State Governments and Union Territory Administrations.
Copy also for information and necessary action to:
i. The DGs / IGs (In-charge of Prisons) – All State Governments / UTs.
ii. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi.
iii. Ministry of Women and Child Development, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi.
iv. Ministry of Labour and Employment New Delhi
v. Ministry of HRD, New Delhi
vi. DG BPR&D, CGO Complex, New Delhi
vii. DG NCRB, RK Puram, New Delhi.
viii. Director, NCPCR
Source : MHA WEBSITE