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AAP government sets up fresh debate on juvenile age, demands setting up police stations and courts for rape cases

Delhi(dna): The AAP government in the capital will examine the possibilities of reducing the legal age for juveniles involved in rape, murders or other heinous crimes for trying them under law to 15 from the current 18, after the brutal sexual assaults on two minors rocked the capital last week.

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A group of ministers (GoM) will also examine whether the existing law can be amended to see if death penalty or life sentences can be served for those involved in raping minors.

In a press meet on Monday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the GoM will also explore the possibilities of setting up special police stations specially for rape victims who are not satisfied with the way their cases have been handled at other police stations.

While the move hints at bringing about a parallel policing system in the capital, that is likely to trigger fresh frictions between the Delhi government and the Centre, government spokespersons said such police stations having Delhi police force will be similar to the erstwhile anti-corruption branch of the Delhi government that reported to the Delhi vigilance department.

The GoM headed by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia will also study the possibilities of setting up more courts to fast track rape case trials the infrastructure of which will be funded by the Kejriwal government.

The decision to appoint the GoM which will finalise the report within 15 days, was taken at a cabinet meeting to discuss the law and order situation in the capital.

Kejriwal said a Commission of Inquiry will be set up withing a week to examine issues relating towomen safety and that a list of rape cases pending in various courts in Delhi will be prepared to fast-track them.

“Since CrPC and IPC are subjects in concurrent list over which Delhi Government has executive powers, GoM willl submit a concrete proposal in the next 15 days so that an amendment bill can be laid in next session of the Assembly,”he added.

The GoM will also examine whether the investigating officer can be held accountable in case of delay in filing charge sheets relating to cases of sexual violence against women, he said.

Attacking the police, the Chief Minister said law and order situation has deteriorated significantly and women do not feel safe in Delhi.

“There is no fear among those who commit such crimes. The sense of security is over. Criminals know they can commit the crime and escape,” the Chief Minister said.

Kejriwal’s comments came a day after he again demanded control over Delhi Police, which now reports to Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and the central home ministry. “We will not allow the Prime Minister to sleep peacefully if women in Delhi do not get proper safety and the present trend of rapes continues,”he had said.

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