Huge spike in crime against women in Delhi, SC told

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) In 288 days, till Oct 15 this year, the national capital witnessed an alarming rise in crime against women. On average, five women were raped, and 10 molested, kidnapped or abducted, and nine subjected to cruelty each day.

This rate of crime is nearly double that for the corresponding period of 2012.

This emerged as the Delhi government Wednesday furnished details to the Supreme Court of crimes against women in the national capital. In 2013, till Oct 15, there were 1,330 cases of rape, 2,844 cases of molestation and 2,906 cases of kidnapping and abduction of women, the government said.

As the court remarked about the increase in crimes against women in Delhi, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra told the apex court bench comprising Justices G.S. Singhvi, Shiva Kirti Singh and C. Nagappan that "there was a marked increase in crime against women in 2013 as there is now a direction for the mandatory registration of FIR (First Information Report) of offences against women".

At least 2,487 women complained of cruelty by the husband and his family; there were 123 cases of dowry deaths, and 14 complaints under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Apart from the more serious offences, there were also 793 cases of "eve-teasing".

In 2012, there were 590 cases of rape, 526 cases of molestation, 154 cases of "eve-teasing", 1,750 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 1,605 cases of cruelty by husband and his family, 119 cases of dowry deaths and 14 cases under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

On Tuesday, the apex court asked the Delhi government to submit details of the number of offences committed against women every month in the national capital.

The court order came while hearing a petition by the Aam Admi Party seeking an independent probe by a Special Investigating Team on the baton-charge by police while party activists were protesting at a police station in Gokulpuri in northeast Delhi against the non-registration of FIR in an alleged case of rape.

Reserving the order on the plea of the AAP party workers, Justice Singhvi asked senior counsel Shanti Bhushan and Additional Solicitor General Luthra to suggest names that could be considered for constituting an SIT, in case a decision is taken in favour of the plea by the AAP activists.

The court also paused to consider why there was such a spurt in crimes recorded against women. Justice Singhvi said that even though more cases are being recorded, there are still women who suffer in silence. He added that "it was for the state to protect them."

Justice Singhvi noted: "There are untoward incidents in every office, because people feel that their rights are not being protected and they are not getting their due."

As Bhushan made a forceful plea for a probe by an SIT, Luthra told the court that there was no case for interference by the court: "But for an aberration on the part of an officer, there is no case that there will not be fair investigation," he said.

Prior to the hearing, the court saw the video of the action that had taken place at Gokulpuri police station. The court noted that the baton-charge by the police was missing in the video.

Defending the police action, Luthra said: "In a melee, where it is a free for all, are we going to blame one party alone?"

Luthra asked: "Can we allow the people who have assembled, in exercise of their right of freedom of expression, to take control of government establishment and law and order?"

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