Want to ensure women walk freely even at midnight: CM

Amid AAP government’s standoff with the police on a range of issues, the Delhi Assembly on Monday recommended setting up of an inquiry commission to probe alleged police inaction in cases of sexual harassment, stalking and voyeurism since February 2013 when a stringent anti-rape law had come into force.

A resolution providing for the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry to be headed by a retired Judge was passed in the one-day Special Session, called to discuss threadbare the issue of women security in the city.

The House, in the resolution, expressed “anguish and deep sense of regret over the ever increasing incidents of crime against women and perceived negligence and inability on the part of law enforcing agency in dealing with this grave situation”.

The terms of reference for the Commission will be to receive “unheeded complaints regarding crimes such as violence, sexual harassment, stalking and voyeurism” since February, 2013 when stringent provisions were made in CrPC and IPC based on the recommendations of Justice J S Verma committee.

The Verma committee was formed in the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape case of December 16, 2012. According to the resolution, a Commission of Inquiry, consisting of not more than three members to be headed by a retired judge will be constituted pursuant to Section 3 of The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

Participating in the discussion, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: “Our first attempt is to make women feel safer in Delhi so that they can walk freely till late in the night. “There are various cities in the world where women walk on the streets till midnight. This is why we are setting up this commission of enquiry.” 

The Commission will suggest necessary amendments to the relevant laws, if any and to recommend to Delhi government whether any case of negligence or collusion is made out prima facie in the cases examined.

It will also recommend measures to expedite all the proceedings in such criminal cases. The Commission will also propose measures to be taken to properly implement the provisions of existing laws as well as the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee and to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

The House “wholly authorised” Delhi government to enlarge the scope of inquiry to be conducted by the Commission if the circumstances so warrant. 

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister announced that the state government had initiated the process to set up the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). “The home department has initiated the proposal to set up the SHRC and forwarded it to the Chief Minister’s Office,” Kejriwal informed the Assembly.

Replying to a discussion in the house on women safety in the national Capital, the chief minister told the members that the Supreme Court last month expressed concern over the fact that there was no SHRC in Delhi for the last 22 years. “In view of the Supreme Court directions and also the fact that Delhi has the second highest number of human rights violations in the country, the state government has initiated the process for the SHRC, he said. 
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