Punjab govt sets up panel to monitor cases of sexual offence against women, children

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Chandigarh, Jun 30 (PTI) The Punjab government on Wednesday said it has set up a six-member committee to track, monitor and ensure speedy investigation in cases of sexual offence against women and children.

The decision regarding the setting of the panel was taken at a review meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, according to an official statement.

She announced that the six-member committee, headed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), will review the progress on sexual assault cases on a monthly basis.

She also ordered immediate training of 500 medical officers to ensure there is no delay in the conduct of examination and documentation in sexual assault cases.

The decisions are in line with directives of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to ensure time-bound investigations in cases of crime against women and children and improve the prosecution rate in such cases, the statement said.

The meeting also reviewed the status of the Punjab State Victim Compensation Scheme and Nirbhaya Fund proposals submitted to the Centre.

The standard operating procedures (SOPs) finalised by the government will help officials to fast track investigation and improve conviction rate, said Mahajan. Mahajan also directed the Police Department to depute women officers, to be designated as safety officers, as person-of-contact (PoC) with every school and college of the state to check and coordinate on such cases.

She asked all deputy commissioners (DCs) to issue dependence certificates in all cases referred by the district legal services authority (DLSA) under the Punjab State Victim Compensation Scheme by July 15.

Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta disclosed that the Police Department had fast tracked the investigations in sexual assault cases and trial of at least 150 cases, registered between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2020 have been started in the court.

He said 1,526 cases related to sexual assault were registered in the past four years. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK

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