Too little, too late: speedy justice for women in Delhi remains a distant reality



Over 90% of the cases involving crimes against women in the Capital await conclusion, with new ones being added everyday 

Every year on women’s day, there will be multiple texts exchanged in the name of wishing a woman for being a woman. But in a country where crimes against women do not seem to end, how well is the system able to deliver them justice?

NCRB data released in 2020 shows how the police and the judiciary lagged in their tasks of investigation and then trial. We took into account the cases from the Capital city, which saw a total of 32,214 cases of crime against women which were to be investigated in 2019. Out of this, 58% cases were pending for investigation at the end of the year, and out of the cases investigated, charge sheet was filed in just 9,590 cases, according to a report by Praja foundation on ‘State of Policing and Law & Order in Delhi’.

Furthermore, a total of 60,959 cases of crimes against women were to be tried in courts in Delhi in 2019, out of which 93% cases were pending for trial at the end of the year. In 2019, trials were completed in only 3,602 cases, out of which in 41% of the cases convictions were awarded while in 59% of the cases the accused were either acquitted or discharged.

When the pandemic hit in the early months of 2020, the consequent lockdown forced courts to shut down as well. With courts slowly starting, but yet to be fully functional, the reality is that many of these cases are still pending with more being added in 2020. In fact, data released by the National Commission for Women shows there was an increase in the number of complaints of domestic violence in April 2020, during the lockdown. The NCW received a total of 1,477 complaints between 25 March and 31 May.

In the year 2020, the NCW registered 23,722 complaints with the most under ‘right to live with dignity’ with 7,715 complaints, followed by ‘protection of women against domestic violence’ at 5,297 complaints and ‘harassment of married women/dowry harassment’ at 3,788 complaints.

In Delhi, 784 complaints of domestic violence were filed between March and September 18. Paras Gaur, a criminal lawyer at Tis Hazari Court tells the Patriot that there would be more such cases which have not come forward due to the lockdown.

He points to the cases of crimes against women which he received in 2019, which are still pending. He has two POCSO cases and a rape case which are being delayed since 2019 with dates constantly being moved. The next date given for the POCSO cases are for April, but he isn’t sure if anything concrete will come about even then.

A study released by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) ‘Police case disposal pattern: An enquiry into the cases filed under POCSO Act, 2012’, finds that 51% of the cases under POCSO are being registered in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

Praja foundations’ report ‘State of Policing and Law & Order in Delhi’ shows that out of 15,927 cases of crime against children which were to be tried in Delhi in 2019, 90% cases were pending for trial at the end of the year.


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