Shocked and disturbed by the gangrape of a young photojournalist in the heart of Mumbai,the Supreme Court Monday decided to analyse the reasons for a sharp rise in rape cases especially gangrape cases in metropolitan cities. It also set down to examine the status of law enforcement in states and rehabilitation schemes for rape victims.
We are shocked. Earlier,not many cases of gangrape would come to light but now this has become a disturbing phenomenon. Not even a single day passes without such incidents. It is now happening across the length and breadth of the country. It is shocking that it also happens in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi. It happened yesterday in Delhi (December 16 gang-rape incident) and now it has happened in Mumbai, said a Bench of Justices R M Lodha and Madan B Lokur.
The Bench put the Centre,all states and Union Territories on notice and sought explanations from the governments over maintaining law and order,and various schemes to protect the survivors and rehabilitate them by ensuring their well-being and according adequate monetary help.
What has gone wrong with society? What is wrong with the system now? Is it the total failure of social values or the law is lacking or is that law enforcement is not working well (sic). Gang-rape provision was made by an amendment 30 years back but we have gone only bad to worse. Rape cases have increased manifold. It is very very disturbing, it remarked.
The court regretted that social values have diminished while seeking to examine if the laws were not being implemented properly and also whether the courts were not fast in delivering their verdicts in such cases.
Although we have special courts for rape cases now,we wonder if the criminal justice system not working swiftly? Are judges not appreciating the evidence well or the investigating agencies are not bringing reliable evidence before the courts? We are also concerned with the low conviction rate in rape cases, said the Bench.
The court said that victims protection and rehabilitation were fundamental to the subject.
The court was hearing a petition by the father of a teenaged girl who was gangraped in Haryana. The petition sought protection for the family,besides basic amenities like education and medical care,and compensation.
As senior advocate Colin Gonsalves pointed out the plight of the victim whose mother was also shot dead after she filed a case against her attackers,the court held that the issues raised by him were not confined to one state and needed a scrutiny across the country.
It asked Gonsalves to suitably amend the petition so as to widen the scope and sought a response from all states within eight weeks of receiving the amended plea.