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SC to hear PILs on rape cases, women safety tomorrow

The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear a PIL seeking trials in rape cases and suspension of all MPs and MLAs who face prosecution for crimes against women.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court would on Thursday hear matters related to setting up of fast track courts for speedy trial in rape cases and effective implementation of existing laws for safety of women.

"We understand the importance of the matter. We will hear it tomorrow," a bench comprising justices KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.

The petition filed by retired lady IAS officer Promilla Shanker was listed before the bench following yesterday`s order of another bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, which had agreed to give the matter an urgent hearing.

The bench headed by Justice Radhakrishnan decided to hear the matter tomorrow as it had received a report from the apex court registry that an identical matter relating to the safety of women was already pending.

The judges were of the view that they would like to know the details of the other pending matter.

Senior advocate Pramod Swarup and advocate Pareena Swarup said there may be some overlapping issues in the two petitions but the PIL by the former bureaucrat raised other issues including the need for speedy trial for the offences against women.

The apex court will also hear another PIL related to the issue which was filed by an advocate and social activist Omika Dubey in which directions have been sought for appointment of additional judges to adjudicate the matters of crime against women and for providing compulsory compensation to victims of rape.

The PIL filed through advocate Ravi Prakash Gupta also sought an order to restrain print and electronic media from publishing and telecasting obscene pictures of women.

The PILs were filed before the apex court days after the brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi on December 16. The victim died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.

The petition by Shanker has also sought suspension of MPs and MLAs who have been charge-sheeted for crime against women.

The retired woman IAS officer contended that the apex court should intervene in the matter as one woman is raped every 40 minutes in the country and most of them remained unregistered.

She also pleaded that cases of rape and crime against women and children be investigated by women police officials and trial be also conducted by lady judges.

In her PIL, she said that no effort was being made for effective implementation of existing laws for safety of women.

"Punitive actions are being taken only after incidents are 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," she said.

The PIL by Dubey also raised issues of red light areas where girls are forced into prostitution.

The apex court had yesterday issued notices to the Centre and all the state governments seeking their response within four weeks over safety measures being taken for women.

The PIL by advocate Mukul Kumar pleaded for 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.

He submitted that the plight of women in the country exposes the shortcomings that have beset the laws and they have to be removed.


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