In a significant development, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to create a helpline for rape victims.
A bench comprising Justice Rituraj Awasthi and Justice Umanath Singh, while hearing a petition of an NGO ‘We the People’, Thursday directed the state government to immediately make a helpline number available to the rape victims who, it said, needed counselling as well.
The petitioner had appealed to the court, saying such a mechanism was necessary as rape victims after the trauma of physical abuse were faced with an indifferent system, a long process of seeking justice and social stigma.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics show there were 451 cases of sexual assault in UP during the last one year. In several cases, the rape victims were denied justice, and it was only after being highlighted by media and judicial intervention that the cases were registered by the police.
In 2010, a domestic help Sheelu was allegedly raped by a BSP legislator Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi in Banda and was jailed on charges of theft of Rs.90,000.
Last year, a minor was raped in Kanpur and the police refused to file a complaint. The girl died later and after a lot of hue and cry and public outrage, the police filed a first information report (FIR) and some officials were suspended.