Thursday, January 24, 2013

Women Safety: Justice JS Verma on police, CBI, DM, Planning Commission

Reaching Out: School children at CBI headquarters (File photo)
IN A 631-page detailed report on possible amendment to criminal law in the backdrop of the brutal gang-rape of a woman in Delhi recently, Justice JS Verma panel has criticized everyone from police to CBI, and has not even spared the Planning Commission. Here are a few excerpts of the Verma committee report:
Male Police, Rape Complaints
There is, naturally, a certain degree of institutional bias against women. Their complaints are not taken seriously by the police. On account of the patriarchal structure the male police officers do not take complaints of rape seriously.

CBI, Trafficking of Women 
We have, during our deliberations, also seen that there is large-scale trafficking of women and female children in India. We have also noted the involvement of elements of the police force in the propagation of such a heinous crime (trafficking of women and children). We have also been made aware that the police establishment and the CBI have been fully aware of this malaise for years, but apart from the issuance of advisories and circulars, they have done little to curb this menace. We have seen that complaints made by women and trafficked/abused children are not promptly registered (or at all) by the police.

DM, Missing Children
We also recommend that in order to have complete figures of all missing children, every District Magistrate in the country report with the help of all his officers, supervised by a judicial officer to the High Court the total number of missing children in every District. Thereafter, the FIR should be registered. The High Court shall monitor the investigation of all these cases.

Plan Panel, Women as Recipients
As far as women are concerned, the role of women in planned economy was not adequately prioritized. The trend of absence in policy can be viewed by analysing the Planning Commission Reports. The trend has historically been to view women as ‘recipients’ and not contributors to public policy. These patronizing tones blind the state to the specificities of women’s issues and the particularities of their condition.

Police, Arbiters of Honour
We do notice that concept of shame has somehow led the police to have an upper hand. The police have become arbiters of honour. The police, without registering even a FIR, assume that they have the moral capacity to pronounce upon the rights and wrongs of the rapist as well as the rape victim. This is simply deplorable and it is inconceivable in a modern society, which is governed by republican values. We think that it is necessary for the police officers to be completely sensitised against the honour-shame theory, and to treat every woman complainant as an individual in her own right capable of asserting her grievance.


  1. Saluting Justice Verma and his team for all this hard work.

  2. The Verma Committee seems to be another example of Judicial exasperation. 80% of crime will stop if Judiciary finishes the trail timely and does its work well. The Bombay rape accused was on bail in more than 15 cases. Indian Judiciary is strange; it creates criminals and blames police for the same.