Thursday, May 30, 2019

To fast-track sex assault probe, states to get forensic kits

TNN | Apr 22, 2019, 03.28 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The women safety division of the ministry of home affairs has set its focus on expediting investigations in a time-bound manner. According to the latest updates available with MHA, Madhya Pradesh is showing the way especially in particularly heinous cases securing the death sentence in 21 rape/POCSO Act cases since Criminal Law (Amendment) Act came into force in 2018. As per the investigation tracking system for sexual offences (ITSSO) launched on February 19, the MHA cites Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as the leading states/UTs in terms of completion of investigations within two months. MHA set up ITSSO, an online mechanism to monitor and track investigation in sexual assault cases in accordance with the 2018 amendment to the law. 

It is an analytical tool based on CCTNS data available right from the police station to national level. Meanwhile, 2,575 officers have been trained by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences in collection, handling and transportation of forensic evidence, including trace elements like a single strand of hair, dead skin cells, blood etc. 

BPR&D has also procured 3,120 Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) Kits for distribution to states/ UTs as orientation kit as part of training. The handling of evidence is based on the notified guidelines for collection of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases and standard composition in a sexual assault forensic kit. The latest update on the 'Emergency Response Support System (ERSS)' with a single emergency number (112) shows that it has been operationalised in 20 states and union territories. These include Andaman Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh, and Mumbai city. From the Nirbhaya Fund, Rs 292.89 crore has been utilised so far for this project.

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