No safety for women in Delhi: Supreme Court

January 12, 2013 - 1:01:01 am

New Delhi: Holding that there was no safety for women on Delhi’s roads, the Supreme Court said yesterday: “We are failing to treat women with dignity, equality and respect.”

The observation came as the court issued notice to the central government, the National Commission for Women and the Delhi government’s State Transport Authority on a public suit questioning the validity of the two finger test conducted on rape victims. 

The court was told that the invasive two finger test was against the dignity of women.

The suit also sought the setting up of a criminal injury compensation board in the country. 

An apex court bench of Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra issued the notice on a petition filed by Nipun Saxena, a fourth year student of Delhi’s National Law University. 

Saxena contended that the court’s direction 16 years ago to establish the compensation board had not been followed so far. 

The notice was issued to the State Transport Authority on the plea that permits of private buses that do not complay with the Motor Vehicles Act should not be renewed.

The public suit comes in the wake of the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus on December 16 and her subsequent death in a Singapore hospital where she was airlifted for specialised treatment. The incident sparked outrage across India and led to calls for stricter laws against rape and molestation of women.

The driver of the bus on which girl was gang-raped and fatally beaten featured three years ago on a television show that was hosted by a former top woman police officer.

Ram Singh, the main accused in the assault, had sought help on the show, Aap Ki Kacheri or (Your Court), to get compensation for injuries he sustained in a bus accident, show host Kiran Bedi said.

Bedi, India’s most celebrated former woman police officer and now an anti-corruption activist, was host of the Hindi-language programme that helped resolve civil disputes. 

“Ram Singh tried to bully his former employer,” Bedi said, recalling the episode. 

A Delhi police officer confirmed that the man in the show was Singh, one of five men charged with the rape and murder of the 23-year-old student.

Singh is expected to plead not guilty when the trial begins. Defence lawyers have said the prosecution’s case is marred by lapses in the investigation.