Citizens' Issues
SC to hear PILs on women's safety and speedy trial of rape cases

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear on Thursday the PIL, filed by retired woman lady IAS officer Promilla Shanker for setting up fast track courts across the country for speedy trial of rape cases

New Delhi: Agreeing to examine the issue of proper safety to women and stopping gender discrimination, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and all states and also decided to hear another plea for creating fast-track courts for speedy trial of all rape cases, reports PTI.


A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir will hear tomorrow a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking establishment of fast-track courts for trial of rape cases and for suspension of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) who have been charge-sheeted for crime against women.


Meanwhile, another bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and all the states and sought their responses to another PIL by advocate Mukul Kumar, seeking safety measures for women.


Kumar, in his PIL, demanded creation of women police stations in every town to investigate complaints of rape and sexual assault against women and implementation of UN convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.


The court asked the Centre and the states to file their replies within four weeks.


In the backdrop of the nation-wide outrage over 16th December brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, who died in a Singapore hospital on 29th December, a bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear tomorrow the PIL, filed by a retired woman lady IAS officer Promilla Shanker for setting up fast track courts across the country for speedy trial of rape cases.


Promilla in her petition also demanded that cases of rape and crime against women and children be investigated by lady police officials and trial be also conducted by lady judges.


Promilla, in her petition, submitted that the apex court should intervene in the issue as one woman is raped every 40 minutes in the country and most of them remain unregistered.


"As per reports one woman is raped every 40 minutes in different parts of the country despite 90 percent of the cases remaining unregistered. After the ghastly gang rape incidence, more than 61 women and children are missing in Delhi and 9,000 young girls are reported to be victim of human trafficking and sex trade in Chhattisgarh which has gone unnoticed in the present national debate," the petition said.


"Punitive actions are being taken only after incidents were reported by media, but no preventive, reformatory or systematic improvements are being made by governments. People are increasingly getting frustrated by absence of deterrent effect of law on criminals and innocent people are suffering due to misuse of police power at behest of political system," she said.


She submitted that no effort is being made to address the deep-rooted problem on implementation of existing laws and empowerment of civil and judicial system.


The other petitioner, Kumar submitted that the plight of women in the country exposes the shortcomings that have beset the laws and they have to be removed.


"It is undisputed that women find the outside atmosphere increasingly unsafe. Even travelling on public transport is fraught with risks too, in addition to general discomfort.


Atrocities against women cannot be interpreted as just isolated instances of failing law and order," he said in his petition.


"In spite of international agreements, the denial of women’s basic human rights is persistent and widespread. As per a study, conducted by the Centre for Social Research (CSR), 18 women were tortured every hour in some way or the other across the country," the petition said.


He also submitted that in cases of honour killings, the concerned panchayat should be penalised and concerned persons be tried for murder charges.



Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

In fact Supreme court should initiate PIL on Judicial functioning and reforms which is Need of hour.Women safety needs priority but every field in justice system NEEDS reform keeping in mind changes social and economic scenario.


prat mahesh

In Reply to Vaibhav Dhoka 5 years ago

I agree. In fact this is a good article by the first lady Additional Solicitor General, Indira Jaisingh.

She was also the India rep on CEDAW which is referred to in this PIL.
CEDAW is the only United Nations human rights treaty that addresses issues related to sex and gender discrimination. On 18 December 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 and over 100 hundred nations have agreed to be bound by its provisions. India became a signatory in 1993.

Gujarat says will implement SC judgement on Lokayukta

In a setback to the Gujarat government, the Supreme Court upheld appointment of RA Mehta as the state Lokayukta, saying it was done in consultation with the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court


Gandhinagar: With the Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding Governor Kamla Beniwal's decision to appoint Justice (retd) RA Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta, the Narendra Modi government said it would soon implement the apex court judgement, reports PTI.


"We will soon implement the Supreme Court judgement on Lokayukta," state Law Minister Bhupindersinh Chudasama said.


"The Supreme Court has accepted Gujarat government's contention that Governor has to act as per the advice of the Council of Ministers," he added.


A detailed reaction on the issue could only be given after reading the judgement, Chudasama said.


In a setback to the Gujarat government, the Supreme Court upheld Mehta's appointment as the state Lokayukta, saying it was done in consultation with the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.


The Governor was bound to act under advice of Council of Ministers, but in this case the appointment was not wrong since it was done in consultation with the High Court Chief Justice, the apex court said.


Governor Kamla Beniwal had on 25th August last year appointed Justice Mehta to the post of Lokayukta, which had been lying vacant for the last eight years.


Adopting a cautious approach, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state spokesperson Vijay Rupani said, "Let us get a copy of the Supreme Court verdict. We will study it and then comment."


The Opposition Congress and NGOs in Gujarat welcomed the Supreme Court's decision on Lokayukta, saying it will expose the state government's "corrupt" practices.


Former Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Shaktisinh Gohil said, "We welcome the decision. The Governor's decision to appoint Lokayukta was legal and within her constitutional rights...Better late than never..."


"The BJP, at the national level, wants Lokpal and stalls Parliament proceedings demanding setting up of a Lokpal. The law was in place but Lokayukta was not appointed for the last eight years. The state government used delaying tactics by challenging Governor's decision in the High Court and when the Gujarat HC ruled in Governor's favour, they went to the apex court," Gohil said.


"The common man of Gujarat can now know the corrupt practices of the state government and the Lokayukta provides them a platform to raise voice," Gohil, the former leader of opposition in Gujarat Assembly, said.


Social activists and advocates also welcomed the apex court's decision.


"This judgement is not only important for Gujarat but for all states because the Supreme Court has decided whose opinion should matter in the appointment of Lokayukta, of Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court or Chief Minister," advocate Mukul Sinha, who had filed a petition in the court for the appointment of Lokayukta, said.


"Modi government was insisting that the opinion of CM as the head of council of ministers should have the primacy. As SC has decided the issue now, Gujarat can have neutral, unbiased Lokayukta," Sinha further said.


Reacting to the verdict, social activist Teesta Setalvad said, "It is a victory of constitutional governance and the rule of law over the arrogance of power. No one is above law."


Father Cedric Prakash, director of NGO Prashant, said, "The Supreme Court judgement must be seen as a shot in the arm for constitutional propriety and a serious effort in ensuring that justice and truth ultimately find a place in Gujarat".


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