Highlighting his government’s absence of control over Delhi Police, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday invited suggestions on giving more teeth to Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), while sharing his own worries as the father of a young girl in the city.
“My daughter studies at IIT-Delhi and sometimes takes the Metro home even at 11pm. Until she gets back home, our hearts beat faster. Nobody can sleep until she is home. The Metro station is about 2 km from our home. We send a car to bring her back. Though I am the CM, I worry. If I am so concerned, I can understand the feeling of a common person in Delhi,” he said at a consultation on the Charter of Women’s Rights Bill, 2015.
“The problem in Delhi is that there is no democratic control over the police. The police is under the central government, which means practically no control. They don’t listen to anyone. I had a long discussion with Swati (Swati Maliwal, chairperson of DCW) and she identified 21 grave cases of crime in which an FIR ought be registered immediately. The police say, ‘We won’t file FIR, do what you like’,” he said at the meet organised by the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC).
He said they sought opinion from lawyers and were told the DCW could approach a magistrate to order investigation in cases under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
“How many 156 (3) cases will the DCW file? The police will thrust 200-250 cases on them and the DCW will spend its life filing cases under 156 (3). I would therefor urge all of you to figure out what powers the DCW should be given. We will do it immediately. Whatever you suggest, we will bring a bill in the next session. We need practical, legal and implementable ideas,” Kejriwal added.
He said if it was for the DCW to ensure that the rights deliberated in the charter of women’s rights bill are available, it would have to be strengthened.
The priority is to ensure that when a girl steps out of her home, she is not harassed, Kejriwal said. It is important to make women and their families feel safe when they are out on the streets of Delhi, he added.
Delhi is set to become the first state to implement the recommendations of the Justice J S Verma Committee, constituted after the December 2012 gangrape in the national capital.
The Charter of the Women’s Rights Bill, 2015, that the DDC placed in the public domain on August 5, also made Delhi the first state to take a policy decision that specifies equality before the law for every woman “irrespective of sexual orientation”.
Others present at the event included Justice Leila Seth, Supreme Court lawyers Vrinda Grover, Aparna Bhat and Karuna Nandy, Amod Kanth of NGO Prayas and Prof Mrinal Satish of National Law University.