Amid nationwide outrage over the Delhi gangrape, the Supreme Court today sought responses from the Centre and states within a month on providing adequate security to women.
Additionally, the apex court will hear a PIL seeking suspension of MPs and MLAs in case a charge sheet is filed against them for crime against women tomorrow.
It also decided to take up another plea for setting up designated fast-track courts for speedy trial of all rape cases.
The apex court issued notices to the Centre and all the state governments seeking their response within four weeks over safety measures being taken for women.
The direction came on two PILs filed before the court days after the brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi on December 16. The victim died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Showing urgency, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir decided to hear tomorrow the PIL seeking establishment of fast-track courts for trial of rape cases.
The petition has sought suspension of MPs and MLAs who have been charge-sheeted for crime against women.
The petition, filed by a retired lady IAS officer Promilla Shanker, contended that the apex court should intervene in the matter as one woman is raped every 40 minutes in the country and most of them remained unregistered.
She also pleaded that cases of rape and crime against women and children be investigated by lady police officials and trial be also conducted by lady judges.
Meanwhile, another bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and all the states on another PIL by advocate Mukul Kumar, seeking safety measures for women.
Kumar pleaded for creation of women police stations in every town to investigate complaints of rape and sexual assault against women and implementation of UN convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
He submitted that the plight of women in the country exposes the shortcomings that have beset the laws and they have to be removed.
"It is undisputed that women find the outside atmosphere increasingly unsafe. Even travelling on public transport is fraught with risks too, in addition to general discomfort. Atrocities against women cannot be interpreted as just isolated instances of failing law and order," Kumar said in his petition.
"In spite of international agreements, the denial of women’s basic human rights is persistent and widespread. As per a study, conducted by the Centre for Social Research (CSR), 18 women were tortured every hour in some way or the other across the country," the petition said.
He also submitted that in cases of honour killings, the concerned panchayat should be penalised and accused be tried for murder charges.
In her PIL, Promilla said that no effort was being made for effective implementation of existing laws for safety of women.
"Punitive actions are being taken only after incidents are reported by media, but no preventive, reformatory or systematic improvements are being made by governments. People are increasingly getting frustrated by absence of deterrent effect of law on criminals and innocent people are suffering due to misuse of police power," she said.