The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Haryana government and the state’s police chief on Tuesday in response to reports of a woman being raped by a crime branch inspector in Palwal in exchange for assisting her imprisoned husband.
The NHRC stated in its statement that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to human rights breaches against a woman by a public servant.
The NHRC stated that it had taken “suo motu cognizance of a media report that in Palwal, Haryana, a crime branch inspector raped a woman in lieu of assisting her imprisoned husband”.
According to media reports, the victim is a Palwal resident. In May 2020, a case was filed against her spouse for hitting some people following a disagreement. Her husband is being held in Neemka jail. It is also stated that during this time, the woman came in contact with the accused inspector, who offered to assist her husband in getting him released from jail.
The inspector took a bribe of Rs 4 lakh and then Rs. 1 lakh before sexually abusing her, as per the reports.
The NHRC has now issued a notice to Haryana’s chief secretary and director general of police, asking for the action-taking report and the status report within six weeks.
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According to the statement, the chief secretary is expected to inform if appropriate directions have been issued to ensure the guidelines formulated in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, and rules framed thereunder by establishing an Internal Complaint Committee in public offices, including police forces.
“The director general of police has to submit a report including the action taken report regarding reasons for the failure of the institutional mechanism within the Haryana Police for not adhering to the guidelines formulated in Viaskhas’s case as well as the inability to initiate inquiry under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013,” the statement said.
The report must also include the most recent status of the criminal case filed against the accused inspector, including the provisions invoked under various penal laws and whether an arrest has been made, and if not, what steps have been taken to apprehend the perpetrator, according to the rights panel, the statement said.
Furthermore, it should specify whether any compensation has been paid to the victim woman for such a “heinous crime” committed at the hands of a public officer.
The report is also expected to specify the mechanism initiated by the Haryana Police to “deter the police personnel from perpetrating such types of the horrendous crime,” it added.
The Commission has also requested that the Member-Secretary of the State Legal Services Authority, Haryana, submit a report within eight weeks after investigating the case of the woman’s husband’s protracted incarceration in Neemka jail.
It further requested that the undertrial prisoner be supplied provided with free legal aid.