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‘We will ensure justice’

Reacting to the sting investigation in which the doctor was caught on camera, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has decided to send a team to Agra to ensure justice for women who have become innocent victims. Harinder Baweja spoke to NCW chairperson Poornima Advani. Excerpts from the interview:

What were your initial reactions when you heard about the exposé?
It was quite shocking because it involves a profession engrained in nobility. Medicine is a service oriented profession and it is abhominable that a psychiatrist is part of white collar crime. The sordid truth has been exposed by you and the Commission will now send a team to Agra to ensure that Dr Gupta is punished. The punishment should be delivered soon and not after some five years or it will fail to act as a deterrent. The ncw will personally go and meet the women who have been dumped. It is really sad because the women may be ignorant of the fact that they are victims of an unpardonable crime.

Some of the husbands, for fear of prosecution, are now trying to get in touch with their wives. How do you handle situations like these?
We should respect the views of families. We will ask the women what they want, whether they want to get back with men who went to the extent of certifying them mad. But as far as the doctor is concerned, we should ensure early action.

How will the NCW be able to help out in the case?
The commission will investigate the matter and send its report to the state and the Central government. Our reports will then be tabled in Parliament. We will help ensure that the constitutional and legal rights of the women are safeguarded.

What are the kind of odds the commission faces in the course of its work?
The poorest of poor women are denied justice. They have no money power, muscle power or any contact power. Especially in cases where the government is involved. Lets say, when a woman is raped by a policeman, the firs are either not filed or the charges are diluted. But in the case of the Tehelka exposé, it helps that Dr Gupta is not some bureaucrat who is holding onto files of the chief minister. We will ensure justice.

July 17, 2004

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