Sexual violence: J&K High Court directs police to send FIRs to LSA

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the police to send a copy of First Information Report in cases of sexual violence to J&K Legal Services Authority (LSA) immediately after the registration of such FIR.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed all SHOs, SPs and other supervisory officers of the districts to comply with its direction.

The Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation which it has initiated by its own motion after taking cognizance of alleged rape of a minor girl in Sumbal, Bandipora, on May 8 this year.

The direction came after senior additional advocate general B A Dar presented a circular issued by DGP to all SHOs asking them to send a copy of the FIR in all cases of sexual violence to J&K LSA on their dedicated e-mail ID immediately on registration of the FIR.

In its order of May 17, 2019, the High Court had directed Member Secretary J&K LSA to place before it an action plan as well as proper guidelines to ensure linkage between the police stations and the offices of the LSA so that information regarding any case of sexual violence could be immediately given by the police authorities to LSA.

The court had said the information could be transmitted using SMS, Whatsapp, e-mail or telephone.

The court had directed the LSA to ensure legal aid to the victim at every stage – lodging of complaint, registration of the case, medical examination, recording of statement, throughout the trial and till the end of the case.

While the court had directed the LSA to ensure that proper medical treatment was also administered to the victim, the Authority was asked to release compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme at the earliest, preferably within 24 hours of an incident of sexual violence being reported.

In keeping with the court directions, J&K LSA prepared an action plan and set up its email to ensure a linkage with police stations for providing legal aid to the victims of sexual violence.

Meanwhile, Director Information in compliance to a court direction has said that deputy director central has been designated as State Nodal Officer and field publicity officers have been designated as divisional level nodal officers for generating awareness about J&K Protection of Children From Sexual Violence Act 2018 across Jammu and Kashmir.