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July 9, 2024

Daily Legal Current : 9 July 2024 : No Presumption That Only Women Officers Will Effectively Handle Sexual Violence Cases : Supreme Court

Why in News?  The Supreme Court on has recently expressed reservations about a petition seeking to direct that sexual assault cases should be handled only by public prosecutors, investigating officers and medical examiners who are women. The Court remarked that it would be unreasonable to assume that in cases of gender violence, male officers would not effectively fulfil their duties.

The bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was hearing a petition which sought directions to appoint women police officers, doctors and public prosecutors for Sexual Assault cases at Trial Courts. Advocate Md. Anas Chaudhary appeared as petition-in-person.

The CJI questioned the premise of the petitioner that only female prosecutors could adequately fulfil the duties in sexual assault cases. He stressed that it would be incorrect to make such a general presumption and it would be unreasonable to give a gendered color to issues of procedural fairness.

“How can we say that in a case involving gender violence, only a woman prosecutor should be appointed? Why should we presume that anybody other than a woman prosecutor will not be effective in rendering duties, there is no such presumption for us.”

The CJI however noted that seeing the nature of reliefs sought, it may be a challenge to monitor such directions. He also stressed the issue of availability of human resources at the grass root level for fulfilling the reliefs.

“How do we monitor those directions? The question is also of availability of such doctors etc in that particular district. So far as Investigating Officers are concerned provisions are in place.”

Mr Chaudhary you do this, you bring up specific cases with specific grievances will deal with them. Then we can see what specific directions we can give,” CJI suggested.

The Counsel was allowed to withdraw the petition at the present stage.

The following reliefs were sought by the petitioner :

(a.) issue a writ, order or direction in nature of Mandamus directing the Respondent to appoint women doctors in District Government Hospital to conduct medical examination of the sexual assault victims; and b.) issue a writ, order or direction in nature of Mandamus directing the Respondent to appoint a women police officer to conduct investigation in the sexual assault cases; and

(c.) issue a writ, order or direction in nature of Mandamus directing the Respondent to appoint a women Public Prosecutor to conduct court proceedings/trial in the sexual assault cases; and

(d.) Any other appropriate writ, order or direction as this Hon’ble Court may deem just and proper under the facts and circumstances of the case.


Case Details: MD. ANAS CHAUDHARY Versus UNION OF INDIA W.P.(Crl.) No. 215/2024

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