Standing up for the dignity of women

Locus Standi
Last Updated 04 February 2013, 15:17 IST

It started with a Facebook status on the one month old horrendous incident where a physiotherapy student was gang-raped on a moving bus, but seeing the chain of responses to his status, 22-year-old budding law student Nipun Saxena decided not to remain a mute spectator.

When the entire city was seething with anger and demanding justice, Saxena filed a petition in the Supreme Court on December 20 highlighting the systemic failure of law enforcement agencies. Says Nipun, “Students are prime sufferers as we depend on public transport to commute on a daily basis. Every day women are subjected to harassment in some or the other form in buses or Metro. But this incident was the last straw as it shook the moral conscience of society.”

Crimes against women are rampant but the torture this woman was subjected to inside a moving bus with no one around suspecting anything appalled Saxena. “These men had planned a joyride. It just shows that they had no fear of law. Had it not been her, somebody else would have been the victim that night,” he says.

He believes all the laws are in place but the problem lies in implementation. Ineffective enforcement of laws emboldens criminals as they are convinced they can easily get away with murder, he says. With his petition, the fourth year law student from National Law University, Delhi, lays stress on preventive justice and seeks to restore dignity of rape victims. Saxena, who is representing his own case in the apex court, points out if the law enforcement agencies do their job properly by cracking down on offenders, it will go a long way to nip such incidents in the bud.

He has also asked the government to relook at the two finger test as a medical procedure, which seeks to determine the sexual history of a rape victim. Justifiably, Saxena believes the test is against a woman’s dignity. Saxena, who hails from Gwalior, is also saddened by the fact that those in big cities are losing family values. As a result, women are disrespected all the time.

“Children no more grow up listening to their grandma’s tales. These small stories subconsciously teach a person lot of things,” he says. 

Though he did not take part in the protests, he kept an eye on them while he was preparing his case. The 22-year-old, however, refrains from supporting the clamour for death penalty for rape convicts. He is all for stringent punishment but does not see capital punishment as a solution to prevent crimes like these.

His PIL is just a beginning as he hopes to contribute more as a citizen in future. Apart from working on this case, he plans to form a legal aid services cell in colleges with the help of student volunteers to promote good governance. The law student, who is charting ways to execute this idea along with students from different colleges, wants to spread legal awareness and empower people by organising workshops.

(Published 04 February 2013, 15:17 IST)

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