Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to establish effective ‘One Stop Centres’ to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof to women victim of sexual violence despite explicit directions from the Supreme Court issued more than two years back.
This is mainly because of dilly-dallying approach on the part of a committee which was constituted for the implementation in totality the directions of the Apex Court as well as guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
While dealing with Writ Petition (Civil) No.565/2012 titled Nipun Saxena and Another Versus Union of India and Others, the Supreme Court vide judgment dated December 11, 2018 had directed all the States and Union Territories to set-up at least one effective ‘One Stop Centre’ in each district within one year—by December 2019.
At the time of issuing directions, the Apex Court had observed, “it would be in the interest of children and women and in the interest of justice if One Stop Centres are set up in all the districts of the country.
These One Stop Centres can be used as a central police station where all crimes against women and children in the town/city are registered”.
“These centres should have well trained staff which includes counsellors and psychiatrists who are sensitive to the needs of children and women who have undergone sexual abuse. This staff should be given adequate training to ensure that they talk to the victims in a compassionate and sensitive manner”, the Apex Court had mentioned, adding “these One Stop Centres should also have adequate facilities to provide immediate medical aid to the victims and the medical examination of the victims can be conducted at the centre itself”.
Moreover, these One Stop Centres should also have video conferencing facility available where the statement of the victims to be mandatorily recorded under Section 164 CrPC can be recorded using video conferencing facilities and the victims need not be produced in the court of the Magistrate, the
Supreme Court had further directed.
“What to talk of imlishing effective One Stop Centre in each district of Jammu and Kashmir by December 2019 strictly as per the time-frame fixed by the Apex Court of the country, the Government has failed to translate the directions into reality till today”, official sources said.
“Though in certain districts such centres have been established but the same don’t have the facilities and manpower strictly as per the directions of the Supreme Court”, they disclosed and attributed the same to the slack approach on the part of a highlevel committee, which was constituted to ensure implementation of Apex Court orders in letter and spirit. It was only two years after the directions of the Supreme Court that Government constituted a committee vide Order No.1107-JK(GAD) dated December 14, 2020 to finalize the arrangements for implementation of order and guidelines regarding setting up of One Stop Centre in each district for monitoring the prevention and protection of women from sexual abuse at public, private or work places. The committee headed by Principal Secretary to the Government, Social Welfare Department was supposed to monitor the establishment of One Stop Centres in each district, prepare a proposal for providing the services required at these centres such as emergency response and rescue, medical assistance, assistance to women in lodging FIR, psychosocial counselling, legal aid counselling, shelter and video-conferencing to the victims and survivors of sexual abuse. It was also the mandate of the committee to facilitate legal aid and counselling to women victims of sexual violence to enable them to have free legal aid and access to justice through empanelled lawyers, provide temporary shelter facility to aggrieved women and provide facilities for having access to speedy and hassle free police and court proceedings. The committee was supposed to submit its initial suggestions/recommendations by January 30, 2021. “Though the committee held deliberations in certain meetings but the outcome of the same is not visible on the ground as majority of the districts of J&K Union Territory don’t have effective One Stop Centre”, sources inform