|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Gender gap in judiciary and police. Why greater participation of women in the police and judiciary is needed?
Conclusion. Way forward.
Crime against women in India is on the rise. National Crime Record Bureau report shows stark increase in violence against women in India. According to it, crimes against women have more than doubled over the past 10 years. The gender sensitivity deficit in the police functioning and judiciary in India is one of the causes. There is a culture of masculinity in police and judiciary itself where the acceptance of both the woman as victim and as a woman per se is counter intuitive. This need to be changed.
Gender gap in police and judiciary:
- Judiciary: Women are poorly represented in the country’s justice delivery system.
- According to the India Justice Report 2019, they account for just 7% of the 2.4 million police personnel in the country and 26% of all judges in high courts and subordinate courts.
- Women made up just 11% of HC judges and just 28% in subordinate courts. Till June 2018, seven states did not have a single woman judge in the HC.
- Despite the Centre targeting 33% of women in police forces, only four states and four UTs had over 10% of women in police forces.
- In a response to an RTI query, it was revealed that approximately 100 policeman were found to be involved in rape in the past 10 years. To make matters worse, it was recently reported that a sub-inspector of an area (Saket) was involved in rape on the pretext of marriage.
- According to statistics, policewomen constitute only 7.13% (5,356) of 75,169 police personnel in Delhi. Of these women, 90% are constables, while less than 1% hold supervisory positions. The numbers are low despite 20 states having reservations for women in the police.
Why greater participation of women in the police and judiciary is needed?
- Gender sensitisation: It is for police and judiciary to act as an agent of change and engender gender sensitivity starting with their own ranks.
- Better response: In spite of growing crime, the police response to violence against women and judiciary apathy continues to be grossly inappropriate. More women presence would help in better response.
- Reporting: Because of several social factors, women are afraid to report crime. In view of the above, there is need for police and judiciary to act in a gender sensitive manner in all cases relating to violence against women. Women generally feel more comfortable about approaching police manned by women, rather than regular police stations, especially for women-related problems.
- Indifferent attitude: Indifferent police and judiciary response and fear of police deny women the access to justice. Women presence in police and judiciary need to be increased to make justice less fearful and less differential.
- Masculinity: There is also a lack of proper awareness of the prevailing gender inequalities among police officers. Even if there is awareness, the cult of masculinity prevailing in the police organizations does not easily permit a change in the attitude and behaviour of male police personnel toward women.
- Compassionate: Women are compassionate, emotional and nonviolent in general. These traits can enhance the quality and efficiency of a department as they are quick to respond to crimes against women and children. They can be helpful in creating an excellent work environment within the police organization.
- The government should carry a recruitment drive for women and should focus on gender focused training in police and judiciary.
- There is need to create women police stations and more women should be taken as judges.
- There should be a special court with a woman judge and magistrate in each district to handle domestic violence cases.
- A separate wing of police may opened for dealing with women’s issues, in all police stations and personnel of this wing should be exempted from other duties.
It is about time we bring a change in the society and show the much deserved respect to an Indian policewoman. There is a need to involve more women as it would help in ushering an era of women participation and gender sensitisation across the two institutions of justice