Recently, the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and the Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Gandhi jointly launched a PAN-India Emergency Number 112 as an initiative to strengthen women safety in India on 19.02.2019. The said Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) has so far been launched in 16 States/Union Territories including Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Jammu and Kashmir. ERSS is said to have been already successfully implemented in the States of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
In order to make this initiative a success, the Union Minister has called for continued coordination among the organizations including Police, Judiciary, Civil Administration and various volunteers. He further stated that if the women safety issue is addressed in India, then women would be able to freely and equally contribute to the strengthening of the economy, politics and society of the country.
With the launch of ERSS, it is aimed to resolve the issue of the need to remember multiple emergency helpline numbers. Once the ERSS is implemented, people would either have to dial 112 or use the panic button on their phones or the 112 India Mobile Application to connect to police/fire/health and other helplines through an Emergency Response Centre in the State.
Further, the Government has announced approval of Rs. 78.76 crore for the Nirbhaya Fund to strengthen DNA analysis capacities in the State Forensic Science Laboratories at Chennai and Madurai (State of Tamil Nadu), Lucknow and Agra (State of Uttar Pradesh), Kolkata (State of West Bengal) and Mumbai(State of Maharashtra),which would enable speedy investigation of rape cases.
The Union Minister added that the aforesaid initiatives and the amendments made to the Criminal Law in 2018 to strengthen investigation and prosecution machinery in India, including the provision of two months’ time period for completion of investigation in relation to rape of a child/woman, as the case may be,the provision of death penalty as a punishment for rape/gang rape on woman under twelve years, etc,would provide a strong deterrence against the offence of rape and would also instill a sense of security amongst women.
Senior Legal Associate
The Indian Lawyer