The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed SSPs across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to complete investigations in acid attacks, sexual harassment and stalking cases within seven days and put up the case challan before competent criminal courts in the next seven days.
The investigation will be completed within the supervision of a gazetted officer in cases registered under Sections 326A , 326B, 354A, 354B, 354C and 354D of the IPC. The gazetted officer will be personally held liable in case of defective investigation, the court said.
“Every person has a right to life including the right to live free from any kind of mental, physical and psychological torture, be it stalking, sexual harassment, or burning. The victim of acid burns is stigmatised and traumatised,” the division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sindhu said.
Observing that the cases pertaining to sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks are required to be fast tracked, the bench has also directed trial courts throughout the two states and the Union Territory to hear such cases on a day-to- day basis and conclude the trial within three months. Otherwise, the bench said, the trial court will have to record “cogent and sufficient” reasons for the delay.
The bench further ordered that eye-witnesses must be given protection during the pendency of the trial.