Under fire over women's security following the December 16, 2012 gang rape incident, Delhi Police in a landmark decision on Friday announced that chargesheets in rape cases will be filed within 20 days to ensure speedy justice to victims.
"Crime against women is a big concern for us and we will try our best to curb them. We have issued an order today that says particularly in rape cases, chargesheet would be filed within 20 days," Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi told reporters.
"If not, it will be brought to the notice of the joint police commissioner with reasons of the chargesheet not being filed (within 20 days).
"And if the chargesheet is not filed even after 30 days, then it will be brought to the notice of special commissioner (law and order) and special commissioner (crime) explaining the delay and then these officers will bring it to the commissioner's notice in a consolidated way," he said.
The step has been taken to ensure speedy justice to victims of rape as in the past, activists have accused police of delaying investigations in these cases. As per law, investigators get 90 days to file a charge sheet in a rape case.
Bassi said the department will write to the education department to introduce self defence training as a compulsory subject for girl students of the age between 5-7 years.
"Delhi Police will write to the director of education to include 'self defence training' as a compulsory subject for girl students aged between 5-7 years so that by the time they attend the age when they could be vulnerable, they are prepared to defend themselves," he said at Delhi Police's annual press conference.
Last year saw a steep hike in offences against women with molestation and rape cases rising alarmingly by 412 and 129 per cent respectively.
According to police, 1,559 cases of rape were registered in 2013 against 680 in 2012, a hike of 129.26 per cent. As many as 3,347 cases of molestation were also reported in the past year as against 653, which is a rise of 412.56 per cent.
Talking about the issue and underlining various steps taken for women security in the past one year, Bassi said, "Safety of vulnerable sections of our society, women and children are our major areas of concern."
"Helplines for women safety have been announced, 24x7 helpdesks are available in every police station. Apart from these, lady policemen manage women helplines in every PS. Areas with paying guest accommodation where women stay in Delhi have been kept under special watch," he said.
In the recent past, the lines for Police Helpline number (100) have been increased from 40 to 100 while lines for Women Helpline number (1091) have been risen from 4 to 10. There are dedicated telephones managed by women in each police station, he said.
"Delhi police had carried out a security audit of 392 paying guest accommodation and 255 vulnerable routes have been kept under watch. Women officers have been stationed in 100 PCR vans while 398 beats have been brought under Parivartan schemes. Special deployment has been made at 300 bus stops," Bassi said.
Delhi Police is in the process of recruiting an additional 306 women sub-inspectors while 1300 women constables will also be recruited. Special focus has been laid on response to complaints of obscene calls and stalking while 800 patrol vans, have been given instructions to assist women returning late at night or if stranded anywhere.
Other steps taken to ensure women's security include motorcycle patrols, emergency response vehicles deployed around girls' schools and colleges at the time of opening and closing. The department has also identified dark stretches and police personnel are deployed there.
Image: Protestors participate in an anti-rape demonstration in New Delhi