May 27, 2011




In a significant move and the first for the country, the state has decided to make forensic examination of sexual assault victims more victim-friendly. Apart from the sensitisation of the procedure, the state has also drawn seven detailed pro formas for the medical officers examining the victim and the accused.

The detailed pro formas which are a dramatic shift from the earlier 3-page pro forma, include recording the patient’s medical history, a list of specimen collection, opinion writing, and most importantly, a follow-up examination which will involve check-ups on the victim’s mental condition or whether she has contracted any sexually transmitted diseases, among other things.

“While the victim’s statement is given more weight, a medical report supports that evidence. The report is important in cases of both false implications and genuine cases. In case the victim turns hostile, the medical report can be used to nail the accused, like in the case of actor Shiney Ahuja,” said assistant public prosecutor, Lata Chedda who has handled many rape cases.

The eight-member committee, appointed by the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) as per the orders of the Bombay high court, is chaired by Dr SD Nanadkar, head of Forensic Medicine at JJ Hospital. It includes Dr SM Patil, the chief surgeon of Nagpada Police Hospital, Dr Rekha Davar, head of obstetrics and gynaecology and Dr Nikhil Datar, honorary gynaecologist with Cooper Hospital. The committee submitted the new pro formas before the court on April 27.

“We will consent to the report and tell the court that it can be implemented. We also want the central government to implement these procedures,” said advocate Vijay Patait, who filed a PIL on the basis of a study by Dr Indrajit Khandekar, assistant professor of forensic medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Insitute of Medical Sciences, Wardha, pointing out the loopholes of medical examination of sexual assault victims. The next hearing is on June 6.

“Having a protocol will surely help. Currently, various people are doing these examinations according to their own set of rules and knowledge. This system, however, will have to be administered and audited well by the state,” said Dr Datar.
“The system of follow-up in particular will help recognise sexually transmitted diseases, mental trauma, and injuries that cannot be identified immediately after the assault. Also, this system will ensure the patient is jointly examined by the forensic expert and the gynaecologist,” said Dr Khandekar.

1. Detailed history taken in the victim’s words
2. Name of person accompanying the victim
3. List of 24 samples to be taken, as opposed to 8 in the old proforma
4. Purpose of sample collection explained clearly eg, vaginal swab should be
examined for seminal DNA, blood group
5. Injury details to be more descriptive
6. Additional tests for injuries that cannot be seen by the naked eye, such as
UV ray examination, colonoscopy and oblique analoscopy
7. Final report pending follow – up examination and forensic reports


Times of India

25 yrs’ RI for Dutch child sex abuser - First Conviction Under Amended IT Act

Chennai: Wilhelmus Weijdeveld, a 58-year old Dutch national arrested on charges of child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography in November 2009, was on Thursday convicted and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment by a fast-track court here. But he will serve 10 years as the sentences run concurrently. This is probably the first case of arrest and conviction in the country under the amended Information Technology Act, 2008.

Weijdeveld, who has been living in India for more than three decades, was arrested in Choolaimedu on November 6, 2009, based on an Interpol alert that he was uploading child pornography from the city. Later, he came out on bail as the police failed to file the chargesheet within the stipulated time. But he was soon taken into custody under the Foreigners Act and lodged in a special cell at Chengalpattu.

Fast-track court-IV judge K Anbazhagan on Thursday convicted and sentenced him to undergo 10 years imprisonment each under Sections 367 (kidnapping) and 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC and five years under Section 67B (publishing of material depicting children in sexually explicit acts in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. The judge, however, said the convict could undergo the three jail terms concurrently. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the convict.

“It is the result of great team work. We painstakingly gathered foolproof evidence. Though it started as a technology crime, investigations revealed that he was also sexually abusing children,” additional DCP M Sudhakar, who probed the case, told TOI.



Four Bandra schoolboys held guilty of gang rape

Mumbai: The four juvenile boys, who attended St Catherine of Siena school, Bandra, and were accused of raping an eight-year-old girl in the school premises, have been held guilty. The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) held them guilty under section 376 (2) (g) of the Indian Penal Code.

The order, which stated that peer pressure and early exposure to sexuality led the juveniles to rape, pronounced on Tuesday. Principal magistrate of JJB SC Khalipa directed that the boys be sent to the Don Bosco High School in Calanguta Bardez, Goa.
Khalipa said, "The boys should be released forthwith and given to the Special Juvenile Police Unit, which will take them to the Don Bosco High School." The school is believed to have assured proper care and security for the boys.

The Bandra police, which had registered an FIR against the boys in April, were looked at with great suspicion having accused juveniles of rape with no supporting medical evidence. However, the police seemed content with the inquiry after the JJB too upheld the guilty plea of the boys as voluntary. "We had to face criticism from various circles during the investigation. However, the board's decision has proved that the police's thinking was right," said senior inspector Samad Sheikh.

The JJB had earlier ordered that the boys be counselled on sexuality, self-control and legal laws by the NGO Aangan during their stay in the observation home from April 5.The counselling reportedly revealed several other gory realities of the shelter.

Sources said, the boys have named a caretaker at the shelter and accused him of showing blue films. They also complained about the behaviour of another staff member who was seen "misbehaving with the female staff."

The boys revealed names of some elder boys in the shelter who allegedly abused and assaulted them. They questioned that when there were others indulging in similar acts at the shelter why were they the only ones to be caught.
JJB has asked the police to probe these allegations.

May 9, 2011

Mumbai Mirror

HC pulls up cops for Kavdas job

Shahpur police slammed for not recording statements of those complaining of sexual abuse and starvation and not turning them into key witnesses

The Shahpur police was slammed for its shoddy job on the Kavdas orphanage investigation by the apex committee and the Thane Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

On Thursday, the parties probing the orphanage horror reiterated Mumbai Mirror's report which picked ten glaring oversights on the part of the police team investigating the case.

The apex committee members as well as Thane CWC counsel told the court that the police has not looked beyond the incident of rape of one the minors and missed out on the crucial charges of starvation, attempt to murder and even murder of one of the inmates, thereby trivialising the plight of the kids there.

"Police has done a poor investigation. Although the kids in their interviews alleged starvation, no education, and repeated assault, no heed was paid to these charges.

In fact the kids said that one of the inmates, Divya, was beaten to death by Pundalik Gole. Most importantly the male inmates also alleged sexual assault.

Police did not even care to record their statements," said Asha Bajpai, chairman of High Court appointed apex committee and amicus curiae.

Dr Harish Shetty, another member of the apex committee told the HC that the case of rape against Gole too was weak as the police did not record the statements of the girls in front of a magistrate.

"Moreover, all the trustees and employees should have been booked for starvation and beatings. There is also evidence of financial mismanagement at the orphanage. The police has simply turned a blind eye to this fact restricting their investigation to rape of one of the inmates," he said.

Niteen Pradhan, counsel for Thane CWC too pointed out that in their statements the five female inmates of Kavdas home have categorically stated that apart from Gole another person by the name of Chavan too sexually abused them.

"The employees at the home have admitted that there used to be six people on duty at night. All six should be charged because the sexual abuse happened at night. The least the police could have done is turn them into prime witnesses. Also severe sections of Juvenile Justice Act should have been applied so that the accused does not get away scot free," Pradhan told the court.

All the parties demanded further investigation from a special police team so that a stronger case can be built against the accused. The HC accepted that there was a need for further investigation and that it would decide on the same in the next hearing scheduled for May 4.
HC lauds Mirror team

The apex committee members and CWC Thane Counsel present in HC lauded Mumbai Mirror report dated April 27 picking 10 loopholes in the police investigation. When they pointed to the court that the Mirror reporters who had done the story were present in court, HC sought them out and appreciated their efforts.

Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice DY Chandrachud asked if the two reporters were lawyers, to which both replied in negative. "Good job," is what the bench had to say.

Mumbai Mirror

Not five but 10 girls abused in Panvel

The police team investigating the plight of 19 girls at Kalyani Mahila and Balak Seva Sanstha told the High Court that other than evidence of rape of five inmates, they have found proof of several other offences committed by the trustees of the home.

“Medical examination of all the girls has revealed that not five but 10 girls were sexually abused. We have decided to book the accused on charges of unnatural with the minor girls,” said ACP Rashmi Karandikar, who is heading the investigation team.

Police sources have revealed that some of the girls were forced to have anal and oral sex with random men who visited the home.

Highlighting the deplorable state of the girls here, member of the Mumbai-Konkan Divisional Committee Naina Athale said that anyone who wanted to abuse an inmate could simply walk into the home and use a packet of chana as a bait to take a girl ‘upstairs’ where the assault would take place.

Karandikar added that one of the inmates also had strangulation marks on her neck and the trustees will be booked for attempt to murder as well. “Besides, during my investigation I have found that there were severe financial irregularities in the functioning of the home.

Licence was granted to the ashram on the basis of fake documents. Most importantly, several inmates in their statements said that one of the inmates Sita was beaten to death by the trustees.

I have sent my report urging state to file fresh case of murder, cheating and forgery against the trustees of Panvel home. Since my scope of inquiry is restricted only to sexual abuse I cannot register these cases on my own,” she said.

This prompted the apex committee to request the court to allow Karandikar to go beyond charges of sexual assault. The court asked additional government pleader Jyoti Pawar to find out from the state if ACP Karandikar’s scope of investigation can be expanded.

Times of India

No child was sexually abused,claims govt

The government had conducted claimed medical tests of more than 1,000 children in all the 27 homes in Maharashtra in less than three weeks and found no trace of sexual abuse.But a close look shows the methods were haphazard,faulty and unscientific.This was revealed at the Bombay HC on Thursday during a hearing on the state of shelter homes.

The tests have not been done in a uniform manner.At a home in Solapur,the medical exam was conducted by a general practitioner.In Satara,a medical camp was held for 67 children;for them,the column for sexual abuse in the report was left blank, said psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty,a member of the HCappointed panel to look into shelter homes state.TISS professor Asha Bajpai,who heads the panel,said abuse could not be reported merely by looking at a child.

Times of India

Court panel shocked by no abuse report

State Papers Show It Was Callous In Conducting Med Tests On Kids At Shelter Homes

Mumbai: Can a person detect sexual abuse through an examination of eyes,nose,throat,heart,liver and tonsils Or can one say a girl was sexually assaulted in 2011,through a medical examination conducted in 2010.The state government certainly seems to think that it can be done.Moreover,it also believes that a childs ability to calculate has bearing on whether or not she was abused.

After experts stumbled upon incidents of sexual abuse in two shelter homes for mentally challenged children in Maharashtra,the chief justice of the Bombay high court directed the governments department of women and child development to conduct medical tests on all 1,000-odd children living in the 27 shelter homes a across the state.On April 1,less than three weeks of the order being passed,the government apparently finished all the tests and claimed that it had found no trace of sexual abuse at any of the homes.
During the hearing on Thursday,even Chief Justice Mohit Shah seemed shocked with the findings.You should not conduct these examinations only because you want to comply with the court orders,but because it is your duty to do so, he told the department.

TOI trawled through the medical reports,only to find an absurd list of documents submitted by the government.Many of the reports included observations on childrens IQ and behaviour,with no mention of any check on sexual abuse.The government even submitted medical reports conducted in 2010,a year before the court order.

For instance,at the home for mentally deficient children in Satara,Asha Bhavan,the children were taken to a medical camp for their tests of sexual abuse.The report stated that there was no abuse and mentioned stable or aggressive against a childs name.

The reports of the Shankarlal Mundada Home in Jalna,mention details of the childrens IQ levels but do not have anything to do with sexual abuse.Some reports focused solely on a childs behaviour.The one prepared for children at Prem Daan in Navi Mumbai had observations like snatching things and hitting others and habit of stealing,but the persons concerned never seemed to have checked if those children were ever assaulted or molested or raped.There was clearly no examination of sexual abuse.

At the Ekvir Home in Nagpur,the medical reports dealt solely with the tests of chest,eyes,nose,tonsils,teeth,heart and glands.From that,the officials could not possible detect sexual abuse.

The reports for the Sojar Home and the Shri Hanuman Shikshan Prasarak Mandal,both in Solapur,included a column for injuries or marks of violence,but the space was left blank.Similarly,the column of urogenital examination in the reports of Shri Hanuman Shikhsan Prasarak Mandal was mostly left blank or filled with an illegible scrawl.In some cases,the column bore cryptic comments like higher functions could not be tested.

Shocked by the claim that none of the children in the shelter homes was sexually violated,Asha Bajpai,chairperson of the court-appointed panel investigating the condition of childrens homes,slammed the government for the method of checks adopted by it.You cannot detect sexual abuse of a mentally challenged child at a medical camp.You need to build a rapport with these children and meet them a number of times before they open up to you, she said.Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty,who is also on the panel,called the state department callous and being criminally negligent in executing health check-ups.The hurry reflects a lack of sensitivity and fear of exposing the corrupt collusion between the department of women and child development and the home department officials, he said.