April 1, 2021 8:18:38 pm
The Bombay High Court, while rejecting an appeal against the conviction of a 31-year-old man, who was working as a driver on a Railway site at Sindhudurgnagari railway station and raped a minor in 2015, recently directed the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to compensate within six months the survivor, who was just seven years old at the time of the incident.
The court also appreciated the speedy investigation and trial, calling it an “ideal case”, and held that the same was a need of the hour.
A single-judge bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere last month passed judgment on an appeal filed by Jitendra Rajmohan Mazi (31) from Bihar, who was residing at Sindhudurgnagri railway station, when he was arrested for kidnapping a seven-year-old from the station and raping her in September 2015. The Special Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act Court at Oros, in November 2016, convicted him and sentenced him to 12 years of rigorous imprisonment, which prompted him to file an appeal before the HC. Mazi moved the appeal through advocate Nasreen Sajid Khalique.
Khalique submitted that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of her client as being the same person who was sleeping on the railway platform on the concerned night and challenged the DNA report which showed that the blood found on the appellant’s clothes was that of the minor. Additional Public Prosecutor P H Gaikwad-Patil opposed the plea.
After perusing submissions and material on record, Justice Mohite-Dere held, “I am of the opinion that no interference is warranted in the impugned judgment and order of conviction and sentence passed by the learned Special Judge.”
The court commended the police, prosecution lawyer and trial court for deciding the case within one year and observed, “Speedy justice is a component of social justice, since the community, as a whole, is concerned in the criminal being condignly and finally punished within a reasonable time and if the criminal is innocent, he/she being absolved from the inordinate ordeal of criminal proceedings. Courts must strive to ensure that cases do not fall prey to the slow-motion syndrome, which is lethal to the administration of justice, whatever the ultimate outcome.”
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