National Commission for Women

 

Violence against women in case laws


Now I shall deal with the facet relating to offences against women. The offences are of various types. They find mention in many enactments. These under- mentioned provisions are enumerated in Indian Penal Code, 1860:

 

¢ Section 304-B ----- dowry death

¢ Section 354    ----- Assault or criminal force to woman

¢ Section 361    ----- kidnapping from lawful guardianship

¢ Section 366    ----- kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman

¢ Section 372    -----selling minor for purposes of prostitution

¢ Section 376    ----- rape

¢ Section 376-A ----- intercourse by a man with his wife during separation

¢ Section 376-B ----- intercourse by public servant with woman in his custody

¢ Section 376-D ----- intercourse by any member of the hospital with any woman in that hospital

¢ Section 494    ----- remarriage

¢ Section 498    ----- enticing or taking away or detain a married woman

¢ Section 498-A ----- dowry cruelty

 

These are the main offences under the IPC against women. Certain offences are general against all women and certain offences are applicable in respect of married women.

 

 

Violence against Women  

Violence against women has been recognized as a major women’s health issue. It is a worsening public health problem – an occupational health hazard. While men are victims of violence in incidents of street violence, crime, etc., their partners and people known to them perpetuate violence against women. Crimes against women in the form of sexual violence, sexual harassment, etc., are definitely increasing. Epidemiological studies need to be undertaken to identify the cause, extent, nature, spectrum 8 and forms of this pathology and its pathogenesis. Measures needed to deal with this phenomenon should also be identified. Health personnel are not trained adequately and sensitively to recognize and address this problem medically, legally and psychologically. They are ill equipped to give legal advice and counseling. Setting up of crisis centers offering counseling, early medical check-ups for trauma, signs of violence, STDs. HIV, are part of health measures which women need. Keeping in mind, the growing incidence of crime against women, especially domestic violence, stringent measures to check it are necessary.  


 

Remedies and Domestic Violence  

It is absolutely necessary that there should be change in social attitudes. Very few victims are able to take a stand against violence. It is paramount that the responsiveness of the concerned authorities must increase and this should be coupled with consistent documentation, which is essential for maintaining certain degree of transparency. Domestic violence cases require immediate redressal despite the present backlog of cases.

 

Courts expeditiously to provide immediate redressal should handle domestic violence cases. Publicizing the outcomes of cases would help making the judicial system more accessible. I will conclude by quoting what Swami Vivekanand almost more than a century ago had observed “the country or nation which do not respect women have never become great nor will ever be in future.” The National Commission for Women through its State Commissions should network with the State Legal Services Authorities for a continuous cooperation and participation in the legal aid programmes in their mission of elimination of violence against women  

 

 

Special Rights of Women and children  

1. A woman can be searched, only by another woman with strict regard to decency. (Section 51 and 100 Cr.PC).

 

2. Any female occupant, who as per custom does not appear in public and not being the person to be arrested, has to be afforded reasonable opportunity to withdraw before entering a place for arresting a person who may be hiding there. (Sec.47 Cr.PC)

 

3. No male under the age of 15 years or a woman can be summoned by police as witnesses to depose about the facts and circumstances in a case under investigation at any place other than the place in which such male person or woman resides, (Sec. 160 Cr.PC).

 

4. Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age. (Sec.82 IPC).

 

5. Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge the na­ ture and consequences of his conduct on that occasion. (Sec. 83 IPC).


 

Crime Against Women

In the U.T. of Puducherry the Government had established “Crime Women Cell” in Police Department in order to curb the offences against the women on 11.03.1991.  Thereafter on 28.02.1996 the Crime Women Cell was upgraded as All Women Police Station.  The following are the functions of this Police Station.

 

a)     They exclusively deal with the cases related to the Women folks.  

b)     They receive complaints from the Women and attend to their grievance immediately and solve their problem now and then.  

c)     Counseling is being given by the All Women Police and helped in solving problems such as alcoholic problem / harassment by husband, problems created by in-laws / bigamy / child marriage, etc.

 

d)     Patrolling is being carried out by the staff of the All Women Police Station to nab the eve-teasers and other miscreants causing disturbance to the women folks.

 

e)     Periodical meetings are being conducted in the villages to create awareness amongst the women folk about their legal rights and to inform the Police whenever they are in distress.

 

f)     Intensive patrolling and rounds are being taken during peak hours at Colleges / Schools / Market areas to bring confidence in the minds of girls and women that the Police are patrolling in their areas.  

g)     Special drives are being conducted to book cases under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.  

h)     Apart from the functioning of All Women Police Station, the local Police Stations of this U.T. of Pondicherry are also being taken all initiative as that of All Women Police Station.

 

i)     It is pertinent to mention that on careful scrutiny of the accused of the offences under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, though the accused were convicted for the series of offence, their act of involving in the similar offences continues and they are habitually involving in the prostitution.  So, it is evident that unless or otherwise some rehabilitation measures are provided, the menace of prostitution may not be curbed fully.

 

I herewith enclose the Comparative Statement of Crime Against Women for the last five years upto August, 2004 and also furnished particulars of family counseling cases dealt during the last five years upto August, 2004 for your kind perusal please.

 

At present, the Govt. has given approval to establish two more All Women Police Stations i.e. one at Villianur and another at Karaikal with intent to have effective control over offences against women and other related problems.

 

In accordance with the suggestions made by The National Commission for women “Mahila-Desk” (Women Desk) has been opened on 17.09.2004 in all 19 Police Stations of Puducherry it is being looked after by women police personnel.

 

Violence/Crime Against Women

In the U.T. of Puducherry , Crime Against Women cases are less in number.  There is a redressal mechanism in the form of All Women Police Station which deals exclusively crime against women in Puducherry region.  In addition to this the other police stations are also dealing the above cases. 

 

The comparative Statement of Crime Against Women for the last five years in respect to U.T. of Puducherry is enclosed.         

 

There is no separate Mahila Court in the U.T. of Puducherry , to try crime against women cases exclusively.  Other criminal courts are dealing such type of cases.  There is only one Family court in Puducherry which has the jurisdiction of the entire U.T. of Puducherry .  The Director of Department of Women and Child Development has been appointed as Dowry Prohibition Officer (Additional Charge).

 

The All women PS is giving counseling to the women for the family squabbles and also solving the problems of women by compromise and warning of also register cases according to the complaint given by the women victims.  The Police Station is also conducting awareness camps at various villages with the help of NGOs.  Both All women Police Station and other Police Stations are booking cases against eve-teasers and also deploying men and women police at crime prone areas such as schools, colleges, market, bus stand, beach and park to prevent crime against women.

 

Special drives are being conducted to book cases under ITP act.

 

In co-ordination with the NGOs the crime against women cases are prevented.

 

The victims of Rape cases are sent to shelter Home run by some of the NGOs.

 

Child Marriages

Child Marriages are not highly prevalent in Puducherry due to high percentage of literacy in both men and women.

 

Inadequacy of Laws/Proposals of the State Government to enact laws or to make provisions in existing laws to further promote the cause of women, functioning of women courts / implementation of PNDT Act:

 

(1)              Complaints are being received from unwed mothers who are deceived by their lovers.  Such complaints attract only sections 493 & 417 IPC which are non-cognizable offences.  In order to take immediate/serious action against the accused persons section 420 IPC is being added to the above sections, as per the advise of Director of Prosecution to make the offence as cognizance.  But it is not a suitable and correct procedure.  Hence, it is suggested that recommendation may kindly be made to incorporate some other correct section in the IPC as that of 498”A” IPC in order to provide justice to the women victims.  

(2)              Since the sections 493 IPC to 498 IPC are non-cognizable offences, the police are unable to take action.  These offences are mainly relating to family problems.  Hence, it is suggested to take necessary action to convert these offences as cognizable offences.  

(3)              In the U.T. of Puducherry cases are being registered u/s 34 BB of Puducherry Police Act against the eve-teasers and the fine amount is Rs.50/-.  

(4)              But in Tamil Nadu, they enacted an Act i.e. The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act 1998.  In the act, sections 3 & 4 says prohibition of harassment of women and penalty for harassment of women.  The punishment for the offence is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees.  The other sections describe other offences relating to women.  The Xerox copy of the above act is herewith enclosed for kind perusal.   

(5)             In order to take stringent action against the eve-teasers and to provide protection to women, a separate act may be enacted in the in the U.T. of Puducherry by the Government like that of Tamil Nadu.  

(6)             Registration of Marriage should be made compulsory.  During Registration of birth of the child, the grand father (father’s father) name should be compulsorily entered in order to avoid bigamy / extra marital relationship.  

(7)             There is no separate court in Puducherry to try the cases of crime against women.  

(8)             So far no case was registered under PNDT Act in Puducherry . If complaint comes, action will be taken under the said act.

         

NOTES ON CRIME AGAINST WOMEN

 

The general problem the victims of crimes against women face is the non-registration of FIR or registration of case under less serious sections of offence.   To tackle this issue by rigorous sensitization and training of police officers at the Police Station levels, awareness campaigns about the mandatory provision of registration of complaint, effective supervision by the Superintendent of Police and monitoring of registration of cases by the police officers at the higher levels.  Specific attention and awareness is required to be created specially in cases of atrocities against rural and Dalit /Adivasi women.  As far as in the U.T. of Puducherry is concerned, there is free registrations of cases is emphasized and the failure of non-registrations of complaints have not been reported. 

 

All Women Police Station

It transpired that there should be an appropriate mechanism at all levels to give focused attention to the special requirement of dealing with crimes against women.   The atmosphere in police stations has to be such that no insult or injury is caused to women victims, when they visit police stations.  There should be proper facilities for them in the Police Stations.  As for women accused of committing crimes, Supreme Court  guidelines regarding their treatment in the Police lock ups should be followed strictly.  In the U.T. of Puducherry , All Women Police Station have been functioning since 1996, which deals with the offences against women, family counseling etc. 

 

Setting up of Mahila Desks at Police Station

The NCW has been urging the State Government to set up Mahila Desks in all Police Stations.  The purpose of the Mahila Desks is exclusively to deal with the complaints preferred by women.  In the U.T. of Puducherry Mahila Desks have been established in all the Police Stations since 17.09.2004. 

 

Sensitization of Police Officials

The course curriculum on Gender Sensitization of Police Personnel was prepared by the National Police commission for women.  The National Commission for women has organized training for trainers programme in the Police Training Institutes by using this course curriculum.   The officials who are trainers are now required to further train the police personnel from the lowest rank in their states/districts on gender sensitization so that they become gender sensitized in dealing with women who come to the police station for registering their cases. 

 

Dowry Prohibition Officers and Dowry Prohibition Act

The NCW emphasized to appoint dowry Prohibition officers (DPOs) in all the State.  Further, the DPOs should be aware of their responsibilities and duties under the Dowry Prohibition Act.  It was also noted that there is total absence of or inadequate coordination between Dowry Prohibition officers and police officers.  So we can emphasis the govt to appoint Dowry Prohibition Officers, wherever not done, and establish a mechanism for effective coordination between the Dowry Prohibition Officers and the concerned police officers.  Together, they can understand better the nuances of preventive criminal jurisprudence that is contained in the Dowry Prohibition Act as well as Section 498-A IPC.  The DPOs can be very helpful in assisting police in collecting material and evidence with regard to such offences. 

 

Special Measures to eliminate trafficking in women and children

The Immoral Traffic (Preventation) Act is not being enforced in its true spirit.  There has been general allegation that while victims of trafficking are booked by the police under section 8 of the Act, the traffickers, by and large, go scot-free., therefore, suggested that police personnel need to be appropriately sensitized on this aspect.  The law enforcement machinery should be able to apprehend the traffickers and bring them to justice. 

 

Wider recruitment of women police officers

The national police commission emphasized that atleast 10% of the police force should be women, hence there is a need for wider recruitment of women police officers in the police forces. In the U.T of Puducherry , special efforts for recruiting as many women police officers to achieve the target.

 

Counseling victims of rape and institutional support to victims of violence

In some states / UT, crises intervention centres have been opened which have been found useful in mitigating the distress which the rape victims have to go through.  Such centers are reportedly being run in coordination with NGOs.   So it is suggested that we should make efforts in setting up crises intervention centers in coordination with NGOS which should provide immediate succor to the victim of sexual assault, as the foremost need for them is proper counseling, which alone can mitigate the trauma that the victim has to go through.

 

 

Coordination with NGOs  

Some NGOs have been doing remarkable work in the field of prevention of crimes against women and are providing help / counselling to the victims of violence against them.  Some State Governments have also associated them in their efforts to prevent crimes against women and to mitigate their suffering. So we all should associate NGOs, as far as possible, in their common mission of fighting crimes against women.

 

Identification of crime prone areas

Identification of crime prone areas should be identified as one of the significant measures that can help in focusing the attention for legal action as well as on the safety and security of female students and working women.  Women police officers equipped with adequate infrastructure may be deployed in such areas.  Rural, Dalit and Adivasi women need to be taken particular note of.

 

Prompt investigation of cases  

The investigation in serious offences such as rape, molestation etc. it was suggested that cases should be thoroughly investigated and charge sheets filed against the accused within three months from the date of occurrence without compromising on the quality of investigation.  The medical examination of the rape victims should be conducted within six hours.  Police should maintain a panel of doctors available in the community and ensure that only a lady doctor conducts the medico-legal examination of a victim. A police officer  be deputed exclusively to look after all crimes against women which are pending trial.  He should monitor their daily progress and take all steps to expedite trial

 

Help lines  

Help lines numbers of the crime against women cells should be exhibited prominently in hospitals / schools/ college premises and other public places.

 

Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act (PNDT) Act, 1994  

The act needs to be implemented properly, as there have been reported misuse of the diagnostic facilities for sex determination and abortion of female foetus.  

 

Investigation by the National Commission for Women

In certain cases of serious offence against women, the NCW conducts is own inquiry / investigation.  The commission sends report of inquiry with its findings and recommendations to the concerned State Government as well as to the MHA.  The State Governments are required to send their report on action taken and proposed to be taken to the MHA as well as the NCW within one month on receipt of the investigation report from NCW.

 

Inadequacy of Laws/Proposals to enact laws / amendments / make provisions in existing laws, to promote the cause of women  

In the Indian penal code, the offences relating to marriage sections 493 to 498 IPC are non cognizable in nature.  If Complaints are being received from unwed mothers who are deceived by their lovers and offences related to marriage will generally attracts the section of law 493 IPC to 498 IPC.  Since, the offences are non cognizable in nature, it is a handicap to the police to take prompt action to redress the grievances of women.  Hence, it is suggested that recommendation may be made to incorporate some provision of law, as that of 498 ”A” IPC.  

 

Moreover, it is pertinent to mention here that though the aforesaid section of offences relating to marriage are non cognizable in 

nature, in the state of Andra Pradesh, these sections of offence were amended as cognizable, so as to enable the police to take 

cognizance of these offences.  Hence, it is suggested that necessary amendments may be made in the offences relating to marriage 

as that of state of Andra Pradesh.

 

(9)                           In the U.T. of Puducherry   cases are being registered u/s 34 BB of Puducherry   Police Act against the eve-teasers and the fine amount is Rs.50/-, which is trivial in nature.  Hence, amendment may be made to enhance the penalty.

(10)                       In Tamil Nadu, there is an Act namely Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act 1998.  In which the sections 3 & 4 says prohibition of harassment of women and penalty for harassment of women.  The punishment for these offences are imprisonment for three years i/d fine of rupees ten thousand.  Similarly the other sections of offence against women, wherein the punishment are stringent.  The other State / UT Government may enact a similar act for effective action.  

(11)                       Registration of Marriage should be made compulsory.  During Registration of birth of the child, the grand father (father’s father) name should be compulsorily registered in order to avoid bigamy / extra marital relationship.