: January 28, 2016 |
: Woman Issues
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Formation of Special Courts in Rape Cases for Speedy Trial: A Necessity
Justice delayed is justice denied is the corner stone in delivering justice, speedy trial is the essence of the criminal justice. If legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all. Rape is a heinous crime which gives pain and suffering to the victim both physically and mentally. It is a violative of Article 21 of the constitution, Article 21 of the constitution guarantees “ Right to life and Personal liberty” to all which includes right to live with human dignity. Rape destroys the soul of the victim, women are already victims of rape and they are again victimized during long trial process in the court.
Rape trial run in a mockery and even after prolonged trial of rape there is an acquittal of an accused for some reasons or the other. The long rape trial and humiliating questions asked by the defense counsel destroys her completely both in the court and in the society as the stigma attached ruins her whole life. Why every time a girl has to prove that she has been raped and why the onus is not shifting on the accused. There is need for the speedy trial in the rape cases with the formation of special courts, which can finish it off within the one year.
The state as guardian of fundamental rights of its citizens is duty bound to ensure speedy trial and avoid excessively long delays in criminal trial cases that could result in grave miscarriage of justice. Therefore, the delay in justice relates to the delay in actual deliverance of justice or passing of the final order into the matter after the round up of the entire proceedings in full conformity of the prescribed procedures in respect thereof. In India, we find that the working of whole of the system is not satisfactory at all. As a result, there is an inordinate delay in the disposal of cases due to highly time consuming procedure. It is in the interest of all that the justice should reach to people soon so that there is no miscarriage of justice. Reasons for pending so much of cases in various courts can be lenient investigation by the police, examination and lack of protection of witness, lack of presiding officers, unnecessarily adjournments. The important thing that the court has to bear in mind is that what is lost by a rape victim is face.
While the murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim. A rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female.
In India, although, many rape cases are charge sheeted, a large number of these cases ultimately end in acquittal. There are many reasons for the large scale acquittal in rape cases. Prolongation of investigation, on the part of the investigating officers, non-availability of witnesses, have been identified as major contributing factors for the same. Medical evidence is a crucial piece of information, which is required for establishing the case of rape in a court of law.Harassment, delay, adjournments and repeated court appearances, financial loss and waste of time add to the apathy of the victim. The long time that is taken to complete a rape trial often by allowing senseless adjournments; and the giving of evidence by the victim in the presence of the accused and the harsh cross examination in the Court are some other major obstacles. The situation gets worsened if the accused is powerful or rich the case is not even filed against them by the police, if filed then also they get no punishment by paying huge amount of money.
Conclusion and Suggestions:
With the increase in the number of rape cases there is need for the formation of special courts especially to try the rape cases. With the increase in the number of rape cases there is urgent need for the formation of special courts for the speedy trial of rape cases. Frequent adjournments are the main obstacle for the speedy trial. Our judiciary is already backlog with cores of cases, people now a day in habit of dragging their point of grievances to the court of law. Which can be easily be solved outside the purview of the court. Government can be termed responsible for contributing maximum to the backlog. In the ordinary courts where sort of cases are filed, trial take place and so on. The formation of special courts will only deal with the rape cases and chances of speedy trial and justice will come soon. Rape which destroys the woman completely and she has left nothing except knocking the doors of the courts for the justice has to wait for prolonged trail and even after that justice is not given to her. All citizens completely depend on judiciary with the hope that they will get justice but their trust on it is reducing gradually because our judiciary is losing its strength day by day. Special courts can reduce the trauma, pain, suffering of the victim by awarding an accused the maximum punishment earliest to earliest. So that victim can have a sigh of relief and starts rehabilitating, as during the prolong trial she cannot rehabilitate as again and again she has to come to the court to answer humiliating questions asked by the defense counsel.
All cases of rape to be dealt with special courts be cleared within 6 months to a year. So that the victim can get justice soon, as far as possible such courts should be preside by women judge. The presence of women judge would ensure the dignity and respectability of the victim in the court as well as sympathetic and forbearing attitude towards them. The main motive of the formation of special courts would be to try only rape cases, as this is an only offence which takes place daily. In cases of rape of a minor the court should award maximum punishment to an accused. After the “DAMINI GANG RAPE CASE” which has shocked the whole nation new amendment came but no statutory provision yet for formation of special courts. With the formation of the special courts in the form of day to day hearing can give sign of relief to the rape victims and justice can be better served and the people will not loose the faith in the criminal justice system. In India we have no separate speedy trial act and there is no limitation when the trial can be finished , so its high time for a government to look in the plight of victims of rape cases and there is urgent need for special courts in rape cases. Some questions that needs to be answered as soon as possible:
1. Whether the law as it stands in the statue book today adequate to deal with the crime of rape and give the offenders the punishment they deserve?
2. Whether the long rape trial has any effect on the victims?
3. What the police be made punishable for the delays in lodging the F.I.R?
4. Whether there is need for legislative intervention in awarding compensation to the rape victims?
5. Whether Reformative theory of punishment given to accused of rape serves its purpose?
6. Whether the formation of special courts would result in speedy trial?
7. Whether there is need for Speedy Trial Act in India?
8. Whether there is need to bring the offence of rape under “rarest of rare case”?
9. Whether the age of juvenile be lowered to 16 years as it was before it was raised to 18 years?
10. Whether juveniles reaching adulthood serve pending term in adult jails instead of being let off?
11. Whether the punishment for the most heinous crimes juveniles be increased for longer period?
# Tulshidas Kanolkar v State of Goa AIR 2004 SC 978.
# Government of India, The Law Commission on Rape laws in its report 1980
Author: Roma Jain Is An Advocate of Delhi High Court