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A multi-pronged approach is needed to deal with this horrific issue, stretching from rape and molestation of minors, violence against women and gang rape. There are six broad elements of fundamental reform:

(1)    Public Education through media and Civic education in schools to change mindsets relating to social ills.  Besides social education on how to behave with girls and women, this would also include other issues like public health, cleanliness and, behavior in public spaces and basic civic responsibilities of all citizens/residents.

(2)   Police System: Separating investigation, forensic analysis and prosecution of all crimes, from the normal police, which reports to the home minister/chief minister of each state, into a separate organization under an independent police Commission that will have full administrative autonomy and be accountable to a constitutionally appointed overview authority that includes civil society representatives along with government and opposition representation. This is a version of the reforms recommended by the Law Commission and others and approved by the Supreme Court in 2006 in a case filed by Prakash Singh et al.. The directions of the SC have been blithely ignored by all State Governments (who are responsible for Police under the constitution).

(3)    Legal System: Reform of the Code of Civil Procedure Code, to eliminate opportunities for willful delay by lawyers such as through filing of interrogatories, appointment of commissioners for local inspection, temporary injunction and attachment of immovable property and adjournments under Order 17, rules 1 and 2 of the code.  Procedural bottlenecks like serving summons and verbal arguments also need to be streamlined.  Fast track courts for rape cases would be helpful till such time as the more fundamental reform is operationalized.

Laws: Reform of the laws relating to physical violation of females and children of both genders so as to define different forms/categories (e.g. statutory rape of children under age of consent, possible chemical castration of multiple/serial offenders) so that they can be carefully linked to minimum-maximum punishment in each category.   In making more stringent laws and procedures, a civilized society must not forgot to provide reasonable protection against to those who may be falsely accused, sometimes in collaboration with police, to extract ransom or bribes.

(5)    Social education and sensitization of police who deal with crime against women and reform for procedures for dealing with rape cases, given the trauma that the victims have gone through, including the rehabilitation of victims.  Especially in metros like Delhi, the proportion of policewomen in the police force could be increased at a faster pace. A special Female Police Commissioner can also be considered for overseeing crimes against women and children.

(6)    Administrative:  Given the already low ratio of police and judges to population, the fact that a substantial proportion (10-15%) of vacancies in the police force and of judges at different levels have remained vacant for decades, shows a serious failure of administration.  A major program of computerization, use of information technology and modern management tools to register, gather evidence on, file and prosecute cases and to manage, monitor and dispose of cases in the courts, can be launched immediately as part of the 12th plan.

(7) Creches: Public support for the setting up of Creches for female children.  Tax incentives could be given to the Organized sector to set up creches at the work place. Government should device and promulgate strict rules and regulations for the setting up of such creches and provide a capital subsidy for the setting up of such creches.