New Delhi, ANI. Amidst the raging cases of rape in the country and the increasing demands to take such cases to fast track, the Supreme Court has called for caution in the goal of speedy disposal of criminal cases. Rejecting the conviction and death of the accused of rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh, ordered a fresh hearing of the case. He also said that the goal of justice can never be sacrificed. In the process of fast tracking, justice cannot be strangled.
Justices UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra and Krishna Murari overturned the judgment of the trial court and the Madhya Pradesh High Court, dismissing the conviction and sentence of the accused. In its judgment passed on December 18, the Supreme Court said that criminal cases definitely need speedy disposal and will naturally be part of the guarantee of fair trial. However the administration of justice is based on the cost of the basic elements of fairness and on the occasion given to the accused.
The bench further said that justice should never be sacrificed in the goal of early settlement of the case. The most important thing in this is the reason for justice. The original idea should be secured keeping in mind the basic elements. The process can be accelerated but justice should never be buried by its fast-tracking.
The convict Anokhilal appealed against his conviction and punishment-a-death in the Supreme Court. On January 30, 2013, the nine-year-old girl was kidnapped and murdered after raping her. On this charge, Anokhilal was arrested on 4 February 2013.
The Supreme Court took cognizance that the trial court recorded the statements of the 13 witnesses in the case within seven days and after that only five dates were heard and the verdict was pronounced on 4 March 2013.
The Supreme Court bench in its verdict found that the senior advocate of the convict, Siddharth Luthra, has pointed out many of the flaws introduced during the trial. As Luthra said, the lawyer for his client was appointed too late in the trial court. So he got very little time to defend her. On Luthra’s arguments, the Supreme Court emphasized the right of hearing and the right to legal aid. The court said that these rights of the accused in this case were sidelined.
The Supreme Court said that in his view, the trial court increased the speed of hearing, but could not fulfill the reason for justice. The bench said that in cases where death penalty could be an alternative punishment, the accused should be given full opportunity at every stage of his hearing. The court set some guidelines for the appointment of amicus curiae (amicus curiae). The court said that in cases where the punishment can be life imprisonment or capital punishment, lawyers should be appointed as amicus curiae who have practiced at least ten years only in the bar.
Horrific picture of the country on rape
According to the government data in the year 2017, the police registered 32,500 cases of rape i.e. 90 cases were filed daily. Thirty percent of these rape victims are girls.
Indian courts settled only 18,300 cases that year. Yet at the end of 2017, more than 1,28,000 cases were pending.
According to the 2015 statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau, Madhya Pradesh is the most notorious among rape cases.
Jodhpur city of Rajasthan has the highest capita rate of rape. After this, the capital of the country comes Delhi.
According to the survey of human rights organizations, every year 7,200 girls in every one million minors are raped in India. The figures not recorded in the police may be even higher.