Ministry Of Home Affairs has created a new Division to address issues of women safety comprehensively. This Division would deal with all aspects of women safety in coordination with relevant Ministries/Departments and State Governments.
Smt. Punya Salila Srivastava, AGMUT Cadre officer of 1993 batch has been posted as Joint Secretary to head this Division.
The new Division will deal with the following subjects:‑
i. Crimes against women, SCs&STs.
ii. Crimes against children, elderly persons.
iii. Anti-trafficking Cell.
iv. Matters relating to Prison legislation and Prison Reforms.
v. All schemes under NIRBHAYA fund.
vi. Crime and Criminal Tracking & Network System (CCTNS)
vii. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
In order to address offenses against women particularly rape in a holistic and time-bound manner, the Division would focus to enhance the capacity of the existing administrative, investigative, prosecution and judicial machinery, along with appropriate measures for rehabilitation of victims and be bringing attitudinal changes in society.
It was considered to create a National Mission for the safety of women, with the participation of stakeholder Ministries/Departments, who would undertake specified actions in a time-bound manner. These included setting up of Special Fast Track Courts (FTCs), strengthening of forensic setup and building up of National Registry of Sexual offenders, appointing additional Public Prosecutors, and providing appropriate medical and rehabilitation facilities to victims. Issues like sensitization of children through appropriate changes in school curriculum, a media campaign for raising awareness, checking proliferation of pornography materials and online contents etc. will also be addressed.
The National Mission for Safety of Women would result in following:
• Forgiving a credible response to emerging situation of crimes against women, especially minor girls
• Focus on time-bound implementation of measures with the tangible impact on women safety
• Improved coordination by Stakeholder Departments; Justice, MHA, WCD,
School of Education, Health, Deity, Legal Affairs, Information & Broadcasting
• Improved Monitoring at Mission level of the time-bound prosecution and
investigation in cases of rape and other matters related to women safety
It may be recalled that Union Cabinet on 21.04.2018 had approved Ministry of Home Affairs’ proposal for promulgation of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 and a number of other measures for effective implementation of the amended provisions of criminal laws aimed at enhancing women safety. The Cabinet had approved the Promulgation of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (Cr.Pc), with consequential amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, 2012 (POSCO) and the Indian Evidence Act 1872. The said Ordinance was promulgated on 21.04.2018. In order to effectively implement amendments made in criminal law, the Cabinet has also approved following measures :‑
a) Setting up of Fast Track Special Courts: A Centrally funded scheme will be launched to set up fast-track special courts to exclusively decide rape cases and to strengthen such courts where they already exist. Such a scheme will cover strengthening of the physical infrastructure and manpower for Fast Track Special Courts, etc. in consultation with the High Courts and State Governments concerned.
b) Strengthening of the Prosecution Machinery: On similar lines, the prosecution machinery in States/UTs will be strengthened and a dedicated capacity will be created for effective and timely prosecution of the cases for the Fast Track Special Courts, by sanction of additional posts for public prosecutors, office infrastructure and supporting manpower.
c) Improving the Quality of Investigation: The rate of conviction in cases of rape depends crucially on the quality of evidence collected by the investigating agencies. Adequate provision of special forensic kits for rape cases should be made in all police stations as well as hospitals where such medico-legal cases are handled to improve the quality of forensic evidence and thereby strengthen the case of the prosecution. Dedicated and trained manpower will be provided for investigation of sexual offenses in a time-bound manner.
d) Special Forensic Laboratories: One or more specialized Forensic Laboratories adequately staffed and equipped, will be set in each State/UT to exclusively deal with the forensic needs of the rape cases, in an efficient and time-bound manner.
An important aspect in the investigation of rape cases concerns tracking of the accused persons and sharing of information with the concerned agencies in this regard. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will maintain database and profile of sexual offenders at the national level and share it with the States/UTs on regular basis. NCRB data will be used by the police for verification of antecedents for prospective employers and would form part of the CCTNS. The preparatory work for creating this database urgently has commenced.
The new Division in MHA will oversee the implementation of the above measures in a focused way.