Five years after Nirbhaya: A lot needs to be done

There have been many changes and amendments in the law after the Nirbhaya case, but a lot needs to be done, says Anju Dubey, programme officer of UN Women India

pragya

Praggya Guptaa | December 15, 2017 | Delhi


#crime   #rape   #December 16 gangrape   #Nirbhaya   #women   #sexual violence  

Have things changed five years after the Nirbhaya incident?
I see Delhi as the capital of protest, not just capital of rape as it is often painted. In terms of legislation, in 2013 one-stop-centres were set up after the landmark report of Justice Verma Committee and Justice Usha Mehra Commission. There was amendment in the Criminal Law Act in 2013. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act was enacted. If I look back there have been a few steps forward, but there is a lot that needs to be done. Changes in laws were done in 2013 but their implementation is a big challenge. The area of problem where we really need to put our heart and mind, and also money, is access to justice. Other areas that have not seen any development are in behaviours, attitudes and social norms. How much we have sustained after the initial outpour after the Nirbhaya remains a significant challenge. 

 
Madhya Pradesh has announced capital punishment for rapists of girls 12 and below. Will this improve the situation?
This is worrying from the UN perspective as we have a very strong position against capital punishment. In this context, it [the bill] will put the victim’s or the survivor’s life at risk, as in many cases the rapist kills the victim after the rape to wipe out any evidence. 
 
What are the challenges in government programmes for women safety?
A programme like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ is only focused on declining child sex ratio. We are still waiting to see what has transpired in the programme. In real terms, we need to see the changes in point percentages in child sex ratio on the ground in districts where it [the programme] has been implemented. In this area we do not know what is happening. This brings me to an important point: we need to strengthen our data systems. I am being cautious and respectful to the observation of the supreme court, but I think diluting sections of  498A are worrying. Under section 498A, mandatory counselling is recommended. But a choice should be given to women. If I want to file a case as the citizen of this country it is my right to do so. 

There is a rise in crime against women according to the NCRB data. What do you think is required to address this?
We need to have evidence and data generation. A lot more women are now coming to report their cases. Especially after the Nirbhaya case, there is a sharp spike in reported cases. Some women groups now see this increased reporting as a positive sign. Earlier, they used to see it as just a rise in crime graph. In the context of data and data systems, for example, the NCRB should look at formulating data on the basis of age, caste and class. Because we know that women coming from specific communities like Dalit, minority, single women and the disabled are much more vulnerable to experiencing violence, particularly sexual violence. Therefore, we really need to categorise the crimes reported. Interestingly, the UN Women and the UNFPA are working with the Registrar General of India to engender data systems in the country, because many policies are formulated on the basis of the data presented to the government. So we really think there is an urgent need to invest in data systems, but that also means we need to have a budget for ending violence against women and girls. 
 
For example, if we see the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), there has been no allocation of funds from the centre for the implementation of the PWDVA since 2014. Now all state governments are supposed to allocate funds for the implementation of PWDVA. This means, organisations like us, and civil society organisations, do not know what is going on at different state levels. Of course, data has come from various organisations. But the whole point is whether the states are investing in the implementation of PWDVA. So the monitoring part of the laws and some schemes announced is severely lacking. 
 

Comments

 

Other News

Phase 6: Voter turnout 59.06% at 7:45 PM

Polling in the sixth phase of General Elections 2024 which commenced across 58 PCs recorded an approximate voter turnout of 59.06% as of 7:45 pm Saturday. In spite of hot weather in certain parts of the country, voters were undeterred in their enthusiasm as they were seen queuing up patient

Banks not adhering to RBI guidelines, finds study

Banks across India are levying inconsistent service charges on basic savings accounts. A study, “Benchmarking Reasonableness of Service Charges by Banks in India”, uncovers and exposes inconsistencies in adherence to RBI mandates by banks. It finds some banks impose charges exceeding reasonable

“Mumbai Infra boom similar to that of Manhattan in 19th C”

Mumbai’s ongoing infrastructure boom – with a new coastal road, Atal Setu, metro lines and much more – creating transport corridors – is comparable to that of Manhattan in New York during 1811-1870, according to BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani. The iconic projects being implemented

Global Gandhi: How the Mahatma captured the world’s imagination

Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi By Thomas Weber Orient BlackSwan, 348 pages, Rs 1,800  

Urban apathy in Mumbai, Maharashtra sees 49% voting

Polling in the fifth phase of General Elections 2024 which commenced at 7 am on Monday simultaneously across 49 PCs recorded an approximate voter turnout of 57.47% as of 7:45 pm. Voters came out in large numbers braving hot weather in many parts of the states that went for polls on Monday.

Voter turnout: Drop from 2019 reduces further

As the voting percentages dropped drastically in the first couple of phases of the ongoing general elections, observers and analysts spoke of ‘voter apathy’ blamed it on a lack of “wave” this time – apart from the heatwave, that is. The latest figures after the fourth phase, h

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter