Centre says rape cases must be probed within 2 months

NEW DELHI, Oct 10: The Centre has issued a fresh advisory to states and UTs on mandatory action in cases of crimes against women, and said probe into rape cases must be completed within two months as per law, and that the dying declaration of a victim can’t be discarded merely because it has not been recorded by a magistrate.

The detailed three-page advisory of the union home ministry came days after the alleged gangrape and murder of a woman in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh sparked nationwide outrage.

The home ministry said there should be compulsory registration of an FIR in case of a cognizable offence under the CrPC, and any failure of the police to adhere to laid down rules does not augur well for the delivery of justice.

The law also enables the police to register an FIR or a ‘zero FIR’, in case the crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of police station, in the event of receipt of information on commission of a cognizable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women, the ministry said.

“However, even with stringent provisions in law and several capacity building measures undertaken, any failure of police to adhere to these mandatory requirements may not augur well for the delivery of criminal justice in the country, especially in the context of women safety,” it said.

“Such lapses, if noticed, need to be investigated into and stringent action taken immediately against the concerned officers responsible for the same,” the advisory to states and UT administrations said.

The home ministry told the states and the UT administrations that Section 173 of the CrPC provides for completion of police investigation in relation to rape in two months and Section 164-A of the CrPC provides that in rape or sexual assault investigation, the victim should be examined by a registered medical practitioner under consent within 24 hours from the time of receiving the information relating to the commission of such offence. (PTI)