The Delhi High Court on Thursday rapped Delhi government and city police, saying the ‘181’ helpline number launched in 2012 and an android app ‘Himmat’ for safety of women in distress, were nothing but “disappointing”.
A bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and Sunita Gupta described the helpline and the software application “shocking” after the two lawyers in the court could not access them.
“181 helpline number was launched by Department of Women and Child Development (Delhi government) in December 2012 for women in distress…
“They (advocates) used the helpline number to see whether someone receives a call back. Its shocking to note that no one picked the helpline, nor any body responded,” the court said, adding that the victim in “need would die by the time they respond or reach them”.
Delhi Police women safety app ‘Himmat’ was also “totally disappointing”, the court said.
It said the moment anyone calls or dials the helpline, they should respond as a woman victim may not be in a position to speak later.
The bench also pulled up the Centre and Delhi government for its insensitivity in creating awareness among people about laws and punishment for offences against women and children.
It said both the governments have failed to take steps to produce even a single documentary or take the help of any other visual media to educate the people of Delhi about the nature of sexual offences concerning women and child and create awareness about existing laws and stringent punishments for such offences.
It also rapped Ministers who are seen on the posters published in public interest, saying the moment they are seen the whole purpose of the message to the people “go waste”.
“On posters like awareness on the issue of sexual offence against the child, the ministers themselves appear. What is their use on it? The politicians or political figure should restrain themselves from (appearing in) such posters,” the court said, adding it was totally “aghast and saddened” that both the governments have not taken steps to educate the masses on the issue despite a steep rise in such cases.
The bench said the governments should approach film stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan and request them to make a small documentary on the safety of women. “I think they won’t charge for this kind of services”.
The authority should also seek help from private channels to run ads and documentaries on the issue.
The court had earlier asked the government’s to create awareness on sexual offences and the laws against it.
It said even Prime Minister has expressed disappointment on the rise of crime against women, but bureaucrats were hardly bothered.
Referring to the latest data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the bench said that on an average “93 women are raped every day in India”.
“This is despite the initiation of various steps by the government and also the passing of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013….
“But what is in a bad taste are the irresponsible and vile statements made very often by erudite people who hold reputable positions and place in diverse fields, and show no signs of shame while voicing their warped and misogynistic ideals,” the bench said, adding there is “no girl in the country who has not been harassed once”.
The court opined that to deal with the issue there should be awareness on issues relating to women’s rights and violence against women. “From a very early age, girls and boys should be educated on human rights and gender equality”.
The court, while posting the matter for May, directed the Delhi government to take up the issue with concerned department and file affidavit within four weeks.
It asked the ministry concerned to prepare documentary on the issue by next date of hearing.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by a man convicted for raping his minor daughter.
It said that the reason for increase in such cases was because people are unaware of the law and did not fear any legal action.