Raising concern over security of women at public places, including parks, against the backdrop of the rising number of chain snatching cases, the Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to consider making the punishment for the crime more stringent.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Prashant Manchanda seeking directions to authorities to issue circulars to all the police stations, and to direct police officers to book the offending snatchers under already existing stringent sections of the IPC. The PIL also sought new sections to be added in the Criminal Law, on the lines of states like Haryana, Maharashtra and Punjab.
It also highlighted the need to provide proper lighting and adequate safety facilities in dark public areas, including adequate vigil at parks and installation of CCTV cameras. The bench issued notice to the Centre, Lt Governor, Delhi government and the Delhi Police, and sought a status report from the Delhi government on how it intended to deal with the problem. It also asked authorities to file status reports within three weeks.
As per the PIL, 37,557 snatching cases were reported in Delhi between 2013 and 2017. Delhi Police records revealed that cases of snatching had increased by almost 413% in the last five years. “Delhi Police books the snatchers under trivial sections such as Section 379 ( theft ) and 356 (assault or criminal force in order to commit theft ) of the IPC, instead of Section 392 (robbery ) and 397 (robbery/dacoity with attempt to cause griveous hurt)… thus emboldening the offenders,” it said.