July 31, 2010

Hindustan times
28.7. 2010

Fast-track courts to try child rape cases

Alarmed by the increasing number of child rape cases, the state government will try the accused in fast-track courts and end the trials in three months. Home Minister R R Patil made this announcement in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday after legislators expressed concern over the increase in
crimes against underage girls during a debate on law and order issues.

"We want to dispose of child rape cases in three months," Patil told the House.
According to Patil, 11 child rapes were registered across the state in last six months. In Kurla's Nehru Nagar alone, three girls were raped and murdered since March.

"Arrests were made in eight cases," Patil said. "Now, we need to get them [accused] harsh sentences at the earliest."

Patil said the government will seek the Bombay High Court's approval for the fast-track courts. The administration will put up a proposal to this effect very soon, he added.


Delay in rape FIR no grounds for acquittal: HC

Delay in lodging an FIR cannot be the grounds to seek acquittal in a rape case, ruled the Bombay high court.

Last week, the court was referring to a case in which an illiterate woman from Bengal was raped by two men on March 22, 2001. But the complaint was filed about 20 hours later, as her husband had initially refused to come with her to police station. But later when the neighbours intervened, he went with her and lodged a complaint.

Justice JH Bhatia, while upholding a 10-year rigorous imprisonment sentence granted to the convict, observed: "As far as delay of about 20 hours in lodging the FIR, there appears sufficient explanation. She came from a very poor family and was totally dependent on her husband who was also not willing to support her."
Although, the medical report did not confirm rape, the court held that her evidence was good enough to nail the accused (convict).

"In the present case, there is no reason to disbelieve the evidence of the prosecutrix who is married with a 15-year-old son. The incident took place at about 2 and 2.30 am. Her mouth was shut and her legs were pressed, she was unable to shout or resist," observed the court.

The court said none of the neighbours heard her cries as most were labourers who were asleep after a day's work. When her husband, who worked in the night shift, came home at 5am, he did not pay attention to her pleas as he was drunk. The victim then approached her neighbours, said the court.

"The fact that she approached the neighbours and told them about the incident and with their help, she went to the police station and lodged the report indicates that she wanted justice for the offence committed against her. Therefore, she appears to be trustworthy witness," said the judgment.

Mumbai Mirror

Political pressure, police goof-up lead to acquittal of rape accused

The Dindoshi Sessions Court on Friday acquitted Sunil Sanus, 22, of raping a minor girl mainly because the girl’s mother deposed that the police refused to register their case until the local corporator and MLA pressured them to. To make matters worse, the police goofed up with procedures.

An 11-year-old girl was playing with her friend in a Goregaon garden around 8.30 pm on June 15, 2008, when Sanus allegedly went up to her. As her friend ran away, Sanus allegedly gagged the girl and took her to a corner, where he allegedly undressed and then raped her. A woman passing by witnessed the incident and shouted for help. A crowd gathered, thrashed him and took him to Goregaon police station.

To the prosecution’s dismay, in her testimony, the girl’s mother admitted, “The police were not ready to record the FIR. We waited in the police station for five hours. Thereafter, the MLA and the corporator rang up the police station and then the FIR was registered. Before that, they had only enquired about the incident.”

Defence lawyer Arun Jadhav said that this created doubt about the authenticity of the girl’s complaint. “By showing that the FIR was registered only after being pressured, a doubt was created over the complaint itself.” Besides, the girl had in her statement named Sanus, but in her medical check-up, had referred to the accused as ‘unknown’ and said that he had only undressed her and attempted to rape her. However, the girl’s mother contradicted saying she had been raped.

But what worsened the case was the police inexplicably not summoning any of the witnesses from the crowd who had allegedly caught Sanus red-handed or the woman who first witnessed the alleged act. In fact, investigating officer API Ashok Sawant, who is now with the Crime Branch, deposed that they couldn’t trace that woman or the girl’s friend who fled the scene on seeing Sanus. Sawant deposed, “After their statement and the seizure of clothes, they were called the next day so as to send the victim to Nagpada police hospital for medical check-up.”

By this admission, Sawant established that the girl had washed up crucial medical evidence of rape, Jadhav added. “To add to this, the police’s claims that the crowd had battered Sanus and torn his shirt couldn’t be established as the shirt was not torn at all and he had no bruises on his face. Sanus was clearly framed,” said Jadhav.

No comments: