Wednesday, January 23, 2019

19-Year-Old Moves Court Saying Cops Not Taking Her Complaint

The Gujarat high court gave the state government a good dressing down for not having a mechanism in place to facilitate legal counselling and assistance to rape survivors at police stations and demanded an explanation as to why the system is not in place.
In 1995, the Supreme Court had in Delhi Domestic Working Women Vs Union Of India And Others issued eight-point instructions for legal assistance to rape survivors as soon as they approach the police.

The high court asked the state government whether such a system exists in Gujarat, but the government did not reply to the question. Justice Sonia Gokani of the high court sought the state government’s explanation as to why it has not complied with the order after 23 years.

The government got a rap from the high court when a 19-year-old alleged gang rape survivor, who was pregnant, knocked at the high court doors on January 15 with two demands. She prayed that she be given permission to terminate her pregnancy and Banaskantha police should register an FIR over her abduction, illegal detention, and gang rape because she was kidnapped and raped by four persons earlier this month. She complained that she had tendered her complaint to Gadh police and the SP of Banaskantha, but they did not act.

The court was infuriated at the unnoticed “cries” of the victim of such a serious crime. It ordered Gadh police on Tuesday to register the FIR in 24 hours and place a copy before the high court. The high court issued a show-cause notice, seeking an explanation for the alleged inaction by the Gadh police inspector and the SP by January 29, because they were approached by the rape survivor.

Meanwhile, the high court on January 16 ordered an expert panel of doctors to examine the rape survivor and give the opinion on how safe abortion would be. Upon their reply, the high court on Tuesday permitted the complainant to have her pregnancy terminated and ordered the Palanpur Civil Hospital to secure evidence after the abortion for the purpose of further criminal proceedings, said Atit Thakore, the petitioner’s advocate.

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