Court issues guidelines on cases of incest crime

May 6th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed Delhi Police and the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to start a ‘crisis intervention centre’ to help out victims of incest crimes.
The crisis intervention centre and rape crisis cell will primarily attend to calls of the victims and provide them counselling and legal advice, it said.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul passed a set of guidelines for investigators of incest crimes to sensitise them to the emotional trauma of the victims.

This followed complaints that investigators and prosecutors of such crimes, whose incidence has gone up sharply in recent times, often acted insensitively, particularly when dealing with child victims.

The court also directed Delhi Police to appoint women head constables, and when they receive information regarding incest crimes they should go to the spot and record the statement of the victim in a friendly manner and then pass on the information to the rape crisis cell.

The court directed the additional commissioner of police (ACP) to supervise such cases.

It also issued guidelines for the hospitals and directed them to allocate a separate room for the sexually assaulted victims for medical examination and recording of statement in privacy.

“Hospitals should also be well equipped with sexual assault evidence collection kits and sexual assault forensic evidence kits,” the court ruled.

It directed the lower courts to record victims’ statement at the earliest and to complete the trial in 15 days.

The court will appoint a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists to assist courts in dealing with incest related crimes.

The court directed Delhi Police to sensitise judges, public prosecutors and police officials on various aspects of incest crimes.

The DCW in its recommendations to the court said, “The child should be kept under the care of the Child Welfare Committee and there should be a special court room for hearing of incest cases with video conferencing facilities to record the victim’s statement.”

The court noted the commission’s guidelines and asked the agencies to start following them.

Citing a rape case in which the trial court acquitted the accused, Lalit Pandey, of the charge of raping his four-and-half-year-old daughter as the victim’s mother and elder sister had retracted the complaint, DCW counsel said the court should also issue guidelines for trial courts so as to strictly deal with such type of cases.

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