Rape statement to women magistrates or to sensitive persons?

Udisa Islam
Published : 02:00, May 11, 2019 | Updated : 13:59, May 11, 2019

People participate in a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua near Jammu, and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, in Mumbai, India, April 15, 2018. REUTERSFollowing a circular saying that the statement of a rape victim has to be made to a woman magistrate, a question has arisen: why should the statement be made to a woman magistrate? This challenges the preconceived idea that only women are sensitive.

A comfortable environment is needed to record the confession of the victim. On 16 April last, supreme-court issued a circular, stating that the statement of a victim has to be recorded by a woman magistrate.

It further added that a victim feels inhibited in giving statement to a male magistrate.

The circular also says that if a woman magistrate is not available in a particular district, then, someone can be brought from another district.

Coordinator of Nijera Kori, says: “sensitive people are needed to take account from the victim; however, it’s not right to accept that all women are sensitive.”

The police need to be taught to be sympathetic and considerate, she added.

“To properly serve the nation, the police need proper training.”

Former executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, Nur Khan, says; “those who are engaged in judiciary should not create a division between men and women.”

“When the respect of women is at stake, experience is of significance.”

Lawyer Alina Khan, says: “we have seen in our experience that associating women police personnel did not bring a positive result; however, we want to believe that women have more sympathy.”

Saying that during taking of statement, questions are asked in detail, the lawyer observed: “since punishment is meted out on the statement given, questions cover all minute aspects which many find awkward to answer to a male officer.”

Supreme court registrar, Dr. Zakir Hossain, adds: “as far as I know, most courts have women magistrates; when a court does not have a female magistrate, responsibility will be given to another person.”