After teen girl's murder, AAP govt proposes commission to probe sexual harassment cases

New Delhi: The AAP government on Tuesday decided to hold a special session of Assembly on 28 July to discuss women security and proposed to set up a Commission of Enquiry to probe cases of sexual harassment in which police has not taken action despite a stringent anti-rape law which had come into force.

 After teen girls murder, AAP govt proposes commission to probe sexual harassment cases

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

A meeting of Delhi Cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal decided to call the special session of the Assembly to pass a resolution to set up the Commission of Enquiry.

The decision came amid escalating confrontation between AAP government and Delhi Police, triggered by gruesome murder of 19-year old girl in Anand Parbat area. The AAP government has accused the police of taking the case "lightly".

"It is proposed to set up a Commission of Enquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act, to receive complaints from victims of sexual harassment or stalking or voyeurism in whose cases, appropriate action has not been taken, since February 2013, when the new law was introduced but still the victims did not get justice," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.

The Commission would enquire into these complaints and suggest appropriate action in each of the complaints.

"It will suggest amendments to CrPC, if any required, on the basis of the complaints and recommend if action ought to be taken against officers in "cases of gross negligence or collusion," a government release said.

It said the committee will recommend measures to expedite the criminal cases and prosecution.

"The Commission will also recommend measures necessary to properly implement the provisions of law and recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee and to prevent recurrence of such incidents," the government said.

Sisodia said, Justice Verma Committee which was constituted in the wake of the brutal gangrape of girl in New Delhi, held that the existing law regarding harassment of women are not enough and thus recommended necessary amendments.

"Accordingly, by way of the amendment, Section 354A, 354B, 354C and 354D were added to the Indian Penal Code regarding sexual harassment and stalking of women, etc, and a number of amendments were made into the CrPC.

"Though the amendments were made into the law, but unfortunately they have not been implemented in reality. The recent case of the stalking, murder and sexual harassment of Minakashi is a glaring example of the failure of the system," he said.

Minakshi was brutally stabbed to death allegedly by two brothers living in her neighbourhood in central Delhi's Anand Parbat area for protesting their verbally abusing her on 16 July.

A senior official said that the Commission is likely to be headed by a retired judge of Supreme Court or High Court.

Sisodia said Minakashi's family had approached the police several times in the last two years with complaints against the accused. However, the police did not take the complaints seriously, he said.

"The family had made a written complaint to the police in 2013 and subsequently made several complaints to the police on phone. However, the police is alleged not to have taken appropriate action on those complaints.

"If the police had acted effectively on earlier complaints, it is felt that the murder could have been avoided. There are many such instances where the women approach Delhi Police but they do not get justice – either FIR is not registered or even if an FIR is registered, no further action is initiated," he said. He said sometimes case lingers on for years without "effective action" adding the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has also severely criticised Delhi Police on these issues in its 185th report.

After the Kejriwal-Bassi meeting, both sides had hardened their positions with the AAP government accusing him of stonewalling a number of queries by the chief minister.

In a veiled criticism of the AAP government, Bassi had said certain "expectations" could not be met as they were beyond jurisdiction of law.

PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 21, 2015 21:15:59 IST