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Delhi HC directs Kejriwal govt to set up one-stop centres for women, children

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government to set up ‘One-Stop Centres’ for women and children in every district in compliance with a Supreme Court decision of 2018.

The court’s direction came while a division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing a plea against media houses for revealing the victim’s identity and accused persons’ name in a rape case of Hyderabad.

The court directed the Delhi government to act under the relevant section(s) of the Indian Penal Code and lay down the criteria as directed by the Supreme Court for identifying social welfare institutions or organisations, to whom the next-of-kin to give the authorisation for declaration of the name.

The court referred to the Supreme Court judgement in Nipun Saxena vs Union of India passed on December 11, 2018.

The bench also noted that the Delhi government has not followed the Supreme Court order to date, wherein the court had requested the state governments and Union Territories to set up at least one one-stop centre in every district within one year of the judgment.

The top court had ruled that the centres should employ well-trained staff, have sufficient medical facilities with counsellors and psychiatrists available on call and video conferencing facility for recording statements of the victims and courtrooms for the trial of such cases in an attempt to make such centres a central police station where all women-and children-related crimes are registered.

The bench said: “The state governments are already in contempt in not adhering to the time limit fixed by the Supreme Court in setting up such centres within one year from the date of the judgment passed on December 11, 2018.”

The high court also said that it does not find it appropriate to initiate proceedings against media houses and reported individuals or to direct investigating authorities to take cognisance of the offence.

“With these observations, the writ petition is disposed of, along with pending applications, if any,” the court said.

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