Mangaluru, Feb 12, 2018: V S Ugrappa, Expert Committee on Prevention of Sexual Violence against Women and Children chairman, lamented the officials’ ignorance about the components under which compensation is offered to the victims in the Nirbahaya Fund.
“The deputy commissioner and superintendent of police too are unaware of the provisions,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after a review meeting of district-level officers on Sunday, Ugrappa said the Nirbhaya Fund was created in 2013, following the Delhi gang rape case, to protect the dignity and ensure safety of women in India. However, no official in the district was able to elaborate on the fund components under Nirbhaya Fund.
He said the expert committee would submit the report on the harassment of women and children in the state within a month. An interim report was submitted in December 2015.
“The district administration has utterly failed to offer justice the victims. Women and children have no protection in the district. The district being literate, the condition of awareness level is nil, which is a matter of concern. There is no change in the stance towards harassment of women and children in the district when compared to the previous review meeting,” said Ugrappa.
“Under Pocso Act, 122 cases were registered since 2013. Three of the cases are convicted and 22 are disposed of, which shows poor level commitments by the judiciary,” said the chairperson.
Asserting that there is total ignorance of the compensation packages to be ensured to the victims, Ugrappa said, “All the departments involved in the process have failed. The accused are also not punished. As per the new amendments of Section 376, the chargesheet should be filed within three months of the case and the trial should get over by another two months. Sadly there are cases reported in the district which have not been dealt with even after five years.”
Coming down heavily on the district administration for its failure to set up a complaint committee under the Vishaka Guidelines, Ugrappa said a few offices have the committee at district-level, but none at taluk-level. There are no CCTV cameras installed for the safety of the women employees. There is no awareness programmes initiated.
He said he has instructed the deputy commissioner and district judiciary to take up extensive awareness programmes on the various laws on the harassment and safety of women and children. “Measures should be taken to file the chargesheet within time, CCTV cameras should be put up at crucial areas, the conviction rate should be improved and compensation under the Nirbhaya Fund and Sthairya Fund should be assured without delay,” he said.
Ugrappa also stressed on the national-level policy formation, making it mandatory to take up time-bound investigation and other essentials pertaining to harassment and compensation packages to the victims.