15 Sep 2023 12:58 PM GMT
Today, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court called for a report from National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a direction for the implementation of the NALSA women’s integrated help system (NWIHS-181/15100) in all States and Union Territories. NWIHS-181/15100 is a technology integrated system of 181 women helpline and NALSA legal Aid...
Today, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court called for a report from National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a direction for the implementation of the NALSA women’s integrated help system (NWIHS-181/15100) in all States and Union Territories. NWIHS-181/15100 is a technology integrated system of 181 women helpline and NALSA legal Aid helpline 15100 and all other government schemes that are meant to provide women and girls, who are victims of violence, with hassle-free access to criminal justice system
As per the PIL filed by the National Federation Of Societies For Fast Justice , this system has been operating successfully on a pilot scale, in J&K and Chhattisgarh for the past 3 years. Therefore, the PIL sought a direction to extend the scheme pan-India. Further, the PIL also sought for continuation of the said pilot project in J&K and Chhattisgarh.
The Bench comprising, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia, while hearing the PIL, expressed their concern that there are at times pilot projects taken up but that does not mean that the same can be applied at one go.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, averred that the results are extraordinary in J&K and Chhattisgarh. Moving forward, relying upon the report of NITI Ayog, he pointed out that the schemes pertaining to the protection and empowerment of women, being implemented for the past 5 years, have been underperformed, including the schemes of 181- Universalisation of Women Helpline (181WHL) and One Stop Centers (OSC).
The Court, after hearing the counsel, ordered:
“Before we proceed further in the matter, we call for a report from the NALSA, for the scheme which the petitioner seek implementation of.”
Other Relevant Aspects of the PIL
The PIL further stated that the project is implemented by NALSA in partnership with the petitioners and with the Department of Women and Child Development, of Chhattisgarh and the Department of Social welfare of J&K. The petition also highlights the contribution of petitioners to the partnership i.e., the operating system software of NWIHS-181/15100, known as the Raipur software.
Elaborating on the its scope of work and importance, the plea stated:
NWIHS-181/15100 has a wide scope of work. It includes access to justice, access to welfare entitlements and access to all NALSA schemes for men, women, children and disadvantaged persons. It further covers legislations such as, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013, Indian Penal Code Act, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act, 2015 etc.
Illustration Given in The Petition
Petitioners have argued that NWIHS-181/15100 ensures that Legal, Medical and other services come to women. Thus, with the help of this scheme women are not required to go from Pillar-to-Post. To elucidate the same, petitioners has given several illustrations.
“Example 1- Sexual Violence: a girl has been raped in an agricultural field. She is badly injured and struggling between life and death. A passerby calls police at 112. An ambulance brings the injured girl to the nearest hospital.
In this case, NWIHS-181/15100, will get to know about the matter from the ambulance records. This will happen because 181WHL and 112 Emergency Response Services are integrated. That means that any call made to 102 (Ambulance) or 108 (Rescue) or 100/112 becomes visible to 181WHL, in near real time basis, with a delay of only few minutes. The algorithms of the 181WHL system will identify the case of an injured woman being carried by an ambulance. The system will alert the management of 181WHL. The management will hear the recording of the distress call, read the case file or contact 112 to know the name of the hospital where the ambulance has taken the victim. Not only this, but the said system will also, inter-alia, ensure that FIR is registered with proper and complete details, forensic medical examination is done as per prescribed format and in the required detail, victim’s 164 statement is recorded without any delay.”
The matter is now listed after three weeks.
Case Title: The National Federation Of Societies For Fast Justice And Anr. v. Union Of India And Ors. Diary No. 26994-2023 PIL-W
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