NHRC observes several flaws in Chhattisgarh nun rape probe
Raipur (Chhattisgarh): In
a major blow to the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh state, the National Human Rights
Commission has found several flaws in the investigation of the case related to
the rape of a nun in the state capital. The commission directed the state
police to formulate a standard operating procedure on rape probe containing
recent guidelines of the Supreme Court and amendments in the Cr PC.
The commission also
described as “hasty and irresponsible” the statements made by inspector general
of police (Raipur range) in the media expressing doubts about the survivor’s
narration on the incident. “These statements were totally unwarranted and
exposed lack of sensitivity and understanding of rape survivors’ rights,” an
NHRC press release said.
Chhattisgarh government did not take any measures for relief and rehabilitation
of the survivor, NHRC has directed the state police and chief secretary to take
action on the specific points as recommended and submit the action taken report
within six weeks.
NHRC directions came
following an inquiry report of its investigation team, which found that though
the local police registered an FIR in the matter but failed to get the
statement of the victim recorded before the judicial magistrate, as per the
mandate of Section 164 [5(a)] of the CrPC. It also pointed out that proper
penal sections based on the allegations, mentioned by the complainant in her
complaint to the police, were not invoked while registering the case by police.
“Further, the local
police, in absence of a protocol or a procedure, did not take any measures to
secure the scene of crime nor it took blood, urine or other body fluid samples
to find out the nature and composition of pills alleged to have been popped up
in the mouth of the victim by her assailants,” the commission observed adding
that there was also an oversight at the time of carrying out seizure of
personal clothing of the victim. She was not provided any legal aid or
psychological counselling in accordance with the directions issued by the
The commission has
asked the state chief secretary to initiate immediate steps to sensitize and
make aware the district administration about the 'Victim Compensation Scheme'
so that scheme is properly implemented at ground level, which is necessary in
view of the legal mandate under Section 357A of CrPC, Supreme Court Guidelines
and notification issued under "Victim Compensation Scheme".
Besides, the commission
also asked to review the relevancy and justification of Chhattisgarh Police
Regulation mandating the prior permission of executive magistrate for
conducting medical examination of rape victim. Moreover, there is no such legal
requirement of obtaining prior permission of SDM/executive magistrate under
section 164A of CrPC, the commission noted.
NHRC has also directed
the state police to frame a media policy and sensitize police officers about
media handling and making statement before the press and to initiate measures
to collaborate with some agencies/ institutions/ organizations to provide
psychological counselling to the victims of sexual assault in accordance with
the supreme court guidelines so as to facilitate the survivor could overcome
the mental trauma.
Besides, the police have
also been asked to collaborate with State Women commission and District Legal
Service Authority to provide legal aid/counselling to the rape victims and to
formulate a standard operating procedure on protection of scene of crime.
Moreover, the NHRC also
directed the Raipur district superintendent of police to get the statement of
survivor recorded before the judicial magistrate under section 164 CrPC at the
earliest, amend and apply proper penal Sections of IPC in the FIR and make more
sincere and committed efforts to apprehend the culprits at the earliest.
NHRC stressed the need
to sensitize the staff about rights of the rape victim and not to take those
measures that may amount undue harassment or cause mental distress considering
the emotional state of victims.
Police had maintained
before the commission that a case registered against the two accused on June 20
and the survivor was not troubled in any manner.