New Delhi, March 17: Safety of women in the country is of utmost priority for the Government. The Government is endeavoring to put in place effective mechanisms to provide safe environment for women said Minister of Women & Child Development, Maneka Gandhi in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha yesterday.
Maneka said that the Criminal Law, Act 2013 has been enacted making the punishment more stringent for offences like rape. Provision for increased penalty for gang rape and causing serious injury to the victim resulting her to remain in a vegetative state have been made. New offences like acid attack, sexual harassment, voyeurism and stalking, disrobing a woman have been incorporated in the Indian Penal Code.
Certain changes have also been introduced in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) and the Indian Evidence Act, like the recording of statement of the victim of rape and sexual assault by a woman police officer and provisions to ensure that the victims is not confronted by the accused at the time of trial. Government has also enacted the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 to provide a safe and secure environment to women at the workplace, she added.
Apart from the above, the schemes of One Stop Centre and Women Helpline for women affected by violence funded from Nirbhaya Fund to facilitate access to justice are being implemented since 1st April, 2015. Further, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is also administering Swadhar Greh Scheme for relief and rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances, including the victims of rape, told Gandhi.
As per the data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 36735 and 34651 rape cases were reported in the country under Section 376 of the IPC during 2014 and 2015 respectively. A total number of 9735 and 8685 cases have been registered under insult to the modesty of women during 2014 and 2015 respectively. Similarly a total number of 82235 and 82422 cases have been registered under assault on Women with intent to outrage her Modesty during 2014 and 2015 respectively.