In a letter to chief secretaries of all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that he was writing the letter in the wake of the unfortunate incidents of heinous sexual offences against women and girls reported recently. "Safety of women and girls is a high priority for the government. While the government has taken steps to strengthen legislative provisions to deal with such offences in a stringent manner, for effective deterrence it is imperative that the police is easily accessible and is able to deal with any complaint on crime against women in a timely and pro-active manner," the home secretary said.
The Union Home secretary also mentioned various advisories sent by the home ministry to the states to ensure security of women.
Bhalla said that on May 16, 2019, the MHA had requested all states and Union Territories to ensure strict compliance with the provision in law to file "Zero" FIR in event of a cognizable offence, including sexual assault on women.
"It had also been reiterated that failure in this regard by any police official is a punishable offence. States and UTs were also requested to undertake refresher courses for police personnel on this essential aspect," the home secretary said.
The advisory said it is necessary to ensure that police personnel are much more responsive and sensitive in handling complaints of crimes against women and girls.
"I would also like to draw your attention to the facility of Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) portal available to the police in your state and UT. ITSSO enables every state and UT to monitor completion of investigation in serious sexual offences in the prescribed two-month time period," it said.
The ITSSO is based on Crime and Criminal Tracking and Networks System (CCTNS) and the utility of this tool has been adequately highlighted to the states and Union Territories by the ministry.
The home secretary said forensic evidence is critical to the delivery of justice and all states and UT were requested to review their capacities, identify gaps, and take action for modernisation of their forensic science laboratories through provision of latest forensic equipment and trained manpower, deployment of e-Forensics, and other capacity building activities, ensuring that these laboratories retain operational independence.