NEW DELHI: Delhi high court has pulled up the Centre and Delhi government for their “tardy and sluggish” pace of implementing steps to create awareness on the issue of sexual offences and related laws in the capital.

Distressed over the lack of swiftness on part of the governments to create gender sensitization and awareness about punishments for crimes against women, a bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and Sunita Gupta said “at this rate required results will not be achieved even in next 20 years”.

The court also said that, keeping in view the enormity and gravity of the offences against women, a lot needs to be done by the authorities who instead of “harping” upon the various steps suggested by them for creating public awareness should ensure that things are “practically seen in action”.

The bench also referred to the PM’s Independence Day speech in which concerns had been raised about the increase in rape cases and about the obligation of the parents and the society in general in tackling this monstrous problem.

It said that one or two advertisements in any newspaper in a year or six months “will not suffice” as public awareness has to be “constant, on war footing and also at the grassroots level specially in ‘jhuggi’ clusters and other crime prone areas”. “In our country, there is a serious dearth of awareness and gender sensitisation and it pains to see the malefactor walk free with an air of pride,” it said, adding “people are not fully aware of the punishments for such offences, are even ignorant of the latest criminal law amendments, wherein voyeurism and stalking were also included under IPC”.

It directed the authorities to “file better affidavits” after giving a practical shape to the suggestions made by them and listed the matter for further hearing on November 14, 2014.

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