The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of the rising number of rape cases in India, and sought responses and status reports from all states, Union Territories and High Courts by February 7, 2020, PTI reported. The court has asked for information about investigation, collection of evidence, forensic and medical evidence, recording of statement of complainants and the time frame for trials.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant said it needs to collate the information for the holistic implementation of the anti-rape law’s provisions. The court said the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi in December 2012 had shocked India’s conscience. In recent times, delays in such cases had created agitation and anxiety in the minds of people, and caused unrest, it added.

The court appointed senior advocate Siddharth Luthra amicus curiae for assistance in the matter. The directions came hours after the court dismissed a review petition of Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four convicts in the 2012 rape-murder case.

Crimes against women have made the headlines in recent weeks. On November 27, four men allegedly raped, and killed a 27-year-old veterinarian near Shamshabad toll plaza in Hyderabad, sparking countrywide protests. A week later, the Telangana Police shot dead the four accused in an encounter. The police claimed that the accused attempted to flee while being taken to the crime scene to recreate the sequence of events.

Earlier this month, a woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district was killed by the men she had accused of raping her last year.