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Not all rape cases in courts in fast lane

The case is midway through appeal proceedings in the High Court.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: December 17, 2013 1:33:12 am

Days after the December 16 gangrape incident,hundreds of rape cases were sent to special fast track courts for a speedy trial. In fact,in January this year,six newly created special fast track courts for sexual offences received over 500 cases within three weeks of their creation. A year later,the trial in the December 16 case is complete. The case is midway through appeal proceedings in the High Court. But trials in the other cases have not progressed at a similar pace.

In the Saket court itself,when the December 16 trial was being taken up on a daily basis,other cases were delayed. Four to 10 cases,in which chargesheets had been filed during pendency of the December 16 trial,were finally taken up once the day-to-day trial was over. Till the first week of December,the court of ASJ Yogesh Khanna had completed the trial in 53 cases out of over 120 cases transferred to it in the beginning of the year.

As on July 1,2013,1,043 rape cases,47 gangrape cases and 212 cases under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences(POCSO) Act were pending in various courts of Delhi.

According to latest data,the fast track court in Dwarka had disposed of 115 cases in 11 months; the fast track court for Central and North Delhi under ASJ Kaveri Baweja had disposed of 61 cases; the fast track court in West Delhi under ASJ Nivedita Anil Sharma had disposed of 58 cases; and the court for East and Northeast under ASJ TR Naval had disposed of 104 cases between January and December. In the Rohini court,56 cases were disposed of till the end of September. A large number of these cases ended in acquittals.

Lack of proper court infrastructure also proves to be an hindrance. In cases related to human trafficking or victims who do not speak Hindi or English,lack of interpreters often delays proceedings. A 16-year-old girl from a village in West Bengal,rescued last year from a brothel on GB Road,had to travel to Delhi twice in the span of two months,in October and December,to record her statement.

According to NGO Shaktivahini,which facilitated her rescue and stay in Delhi,proceedings could not take place on the first day of her appearance on both occasions because a Bengali interpreter was not present.

In November,the court of ASJ Nivedita Anil Sharma convicted a guard for the rape of a Burmese woman,whose testimony was recorded through an interpreter from the Myanmar embassy.

In February this year,ASJ Virender Bhat acquitted a 20-year-old after the 16-year-old “rape victim” told the court she eloped with him of her own free will and wanted to marry him.

In a number of cases,courts have let off men on the ground that they were accused of rape by women after they refused to marry them. In March,ASJ T R Naval acquitted a rape accused after the prosecutrix deposed in court she levelled allegations of rape against the man after he refused to marry her.

In April this year,in an order acquitting a man of the rape of a 17-year-old,ASJ Bhat suggested the government create a “rehabilitation policy” for persons falsely accused of rape and sent to jail.

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