The Delhi High Court has imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakh on the Delhi government for “showing insensitivity” in sensitising people and creating mass awareness about laws dealing with sexual offences and punishments for them.
A division bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Sunita Gupta expressed displeasure at the conduct of the Delhi government as no counsel appeared to represent it and for showing apathy towards an issue of public importance concerning the welfare of women and children.
The bench asked the government to deposit Rs. 2 lakh with the Nirbhaya Fund within a week.
The court also took strong objection, while going through the affidavit filed by the central government, that the advertisements carried by it were focused more on the minister concerned than on the matter of campaign as the photograph of the minister appeared to be larger in size than the matter of campaign itself.
“This should not be allowed to have happened, at least in such matters where focus should not be to gain personal publicity, rather to educate the public at large incorporating such material and photographs which are relevant for such campaigns,” the bench said.
It also raised objection that most of the advertisements published by the ministries are in English language, with the targeted section neither read nor understood.
The court had earlier slammed central and Delhi governments for not creating effective mass awareness about offences related to sexual abuse of women and children and asked them about the steps taken by them on the issue.
The bench had said that despite mass protests after the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape and making amendments in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 to make punishments for sex-related offences more stringent, “no deterrence can be seen to bring down the ratio of such sexual crimes being perpetuated on women and children”.
The court was hearing an appeal of a man who raped his minor daughter six years ago and was given a stiff sentence.
In March 2014, the high court reduced the sentence to 10 years on the ground that he was a father to four children and had given a few suggestions and asked the government to create awareness about the issue.
The girl, who was 12 years old at that time, had also alleged that her father raped her for over a year. The trial court had in April 2010 convicted the man and sentenced him to life imprisonment which was challenged by him before the high court.
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