If you are a man in the state of Madhya Pradesh, be ready to prove your ‘character’ once again. The State Government has issued a notification that ‘Character Certificates’ will be mandatory for all men while getting a driving license.
According to the transport department order, the driving licenses of those ‘accused‘ of crime against women will be cancelled in Madhya Pradesh. MK Jain, state transport commissioner said,
The decision was taken after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the state government will not spare mafias and those accused of crime against women in MP.
According to the order,
As per instructions received from police training and research institute (PTRI), police headquarters, all regional and district transport officers have been directed to suspend the licenses of the accused of crime against women after getting information from the police department.
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Similarly, a new applicant has to submit his character certificate after getting it verified by a police officer, said the order.
Transport minister Govind Singh Rajput said,
This will definitely reduce crime against women. Now, the background of drivers of all the government, private and public vehicles will be verified and it will make travelling in public transport safer for women.
Women right activists praised the decision, but also said it won’t leave much impact on reducing crime against women.
Women rights activist Rolly Shivhare told Hindustan Times,
It is good that the state government came up with this decision. But capital punishment failed to reduce the number of rapes with minor girls so I don’t think it will leave much impact on reducing crime.
As reported by NewsD, according to instructions from the Police Training and Research Institute (PTRI), police headquarters,
All regional and district transport authorities have been instructed to revoke the licenses of the accused who committed serious crimes against women with immediate effect immediately after receiving information from the police department.
However, transport authorities will be able to revoke a criminal’s driving license only if the aggrieved woman has filed a police case against the offender.
On January 12, Chouhan said that a system would be introduced where a woman leaving home for work would register herself at the local police station, and would be tracked for her safety. Criticising the decision, activists said that the state government’s focus seems to be on restricting women’s movement, instead of making public spaces safer for them.
Reacting to the backlash, the Chief Minister’s Office clarified that the proposed system was applicable to both women and men leaving the state for work, and was meant for the “security of the youth”.
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MDO Opinion: The state government must clearly distinguish between accused and convict. This could yet be a grave legal challenge for many falsely accused men who are undergoing trial at courts. Secondly, getting character certificate while applying for a fresh license, could also encourage bribery and corruption, already rampant in the system.