Petition for Reform of Rape Laws and Practice

Petition for Reform of Rape Laws and Practice

Rape Petition – C.P. No.D- 5920 of 2015 [Kainat Soomro & Others V/s. Province of Sindh & Others]

The above-named Petition was filed on behalf of Kainat Soomro, Naseema Lubano and Benazir Jhatyal, rape survivors, in the public interest and as a class action with the aim of focusing attention towards illegal practices and the vacuum in the legal framework followed by the State, Police Officials, Prosecution and medical practitioners in tackling with the trial and cases of rape and sexual offences, which eventually lead to a large number of acquittals. This Constitutional Petition was filed in relation to the role of the Provinces in implementation of the guidelines provided by the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan in its landmark judgment reported as Salman Akram Raja and another vs. Government of Punjab through Chief Secretary Civil Secretariat Lahore& Others (PLJ 2013 SC 107), for implementation of necessary steps for effective investigation, prosecution and trial of the offences of rape and sexual assault.

The general common experiences faced during the trial of the petitioners and various other victims of rape and sexual assault and case research of various organizations including WAR, Aurat Foundation and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) clearly suggest that if the guidelines provided in the Honorable Supreme Court judgment are implemented and reforms are brought about by the provinces in areas of Investigation and preservation of Medico-legal evidence and directions are provided to Police Officials, the positive increase in conviction rate of offenders of rape and fair and just trial of rape victims would become possible.

On 08.12.2016, the Honorable High Court of Sindh ordered a meeting between the petitioners’ Advocates, and Dr. Saeed Ahmed Qureshi, Director (Legal) & Focal Person to Chief Secretary Sindh, to discuss these reforms. On 05.04.2017, the petitioner and the Government of Sindh discussed the reforms/guidelines in great detail and the Focal Person submitted the Compliance report and the details of the meetings in the Court.

In the compliance report all proposed guidelines were approved by the Government, apart from the direction that the doctor should not, on the basis of the medical examination, conclude whether rape had occurred or not and only medical findings should be recorded in the medical report. Furthermore, the guidelines regarding “Directions for and in respect of Trial Courts” were not deliberated, since it pertains to the Court procedures during proceedings before the Trial Court.

The main reforms requested by the petitioner and accepted by the Government of Sindh, were that the Administration of the DNA tests and preservation of DNA evidence should be made mandatory in rape cases and investigation in all rape cases should be monitored by a senior police officer.

The Petition is pending adjudication before the Honourable High Court of Sindh.

The following documents are available for viewing online:

  1. Memo of Constitution Petition
  2. Compliance report