Centre nudges states on sexual assault crimes after ‘horrible’ Hathras case

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Days after the death of a 19-year-old gang-rape victim from Hathras, the Centre released advisory for states and union territories, directing them to ensure strict action by police in crimes against women.

The advisory released by the Union home ministry has made it compulsory for police to register an FIR in such a case of “cognizable offence under sub-section (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).”

For crimes which are not under the jurisdiction of a police station, a Zero FIR should be registered, as per the home ministry’s advisory. Punishment will be given to officials who fail to file an FIR in relation to cognizable offences, it further said.

In case of statement, written or verbal, made by the person related to the person’s cause of death, the government ordered state authorities to take it as “relevant fact.”

It further remineded Supreme Court’s January 7 verdict in Purshottam Chopra vs State case, in which the apex court had said that dying declaration that sastisfies all judicial scruitny cannot be discarded merely because it was not recorded by a Magistarte or it lacked police officer’s attastation.

“However, even with stringent provisions in law and several capacity building measures undertaken, any failure of police to adhere to these mandatory requirements may not augur well for the delivery of criminal justice in the country, especially in the context of women safety,” it said.

The advisory comes ahead of the Monday hearing of the lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on the 19-year-old’s alleged rape and her rushed cremation at night. The Supreme Court too is hearing a petition on the woman’s death. At a hearing last week, a bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde described the alleged gang-rape and murder of the Dalit woman as a “horrible” and “extraordinary” incident. The top court had asked UP police to report back if it witness protection plan in place.

A special investigation team, consitutued by the state chief minister Yogi Adityanath is investigating the matter.

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