Rape in darkness: HC forms panel to identify pockets in Bengal without electricity

Kolkata: In a move to prevent rapes or attempted rape taking advantage of darkness in some areas, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday constituted a special committee that will identify the pockets in remote areas in West Bengal which are yet to receive electricity connections.

The division bench of the Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj took this step while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the recent cases of rape in West Bengal, where the petitioner argued that often the lack of a electricity connection and the resultant darkness in certain pockets is actually facilitating rapes or attempted rape.

The division bench had earlier directed the state power department and the West Bengal Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) to submit a report on the state of electricity connections throughout the state. On Monday as the power department filed its report, the state government admitted in it that there are certain pockets where electricity connections are yet to reach.

Accordingly, the division bench ordered the creation of district-wise committees to identify the pockets where electricity connections are yet to reach. Each committee will be represented by the district magistrate or representative, district police superintendent or representative, zonal and regional managers of WBSEDCL and an independent advocate.

As per the court order, the process will start with the tribal- dominated Purulia district with remote areas where the lack of electricity connectiosn has been the maximum. The committee will submit its report in the next two months and after evaluating its contents similar committees will be formed in the remaining districts.

The next hearing in the matter will be on January 30.



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