Good news: CrPC offer succour to rape victims
This story appeared in TOI a few days back. It talks of policy changes being made at a federal level to assist rape victims. Surely a welcome change!! Have a read.
NEW DELHI: The government has cleared a path-breaking package to lessen the agony of rape victims. Completing trial of rape cases in two months, having women judges hear rape cases “as far as practicable”, and recording statements of victims at places of their choice are some of the bold changes to the criminal procedure code (CrPC) approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday.
The proposals are part of the larger bouquet of changes in the CrPC (Amendment) Bill, which is to be re-introduced in Parliament after having been vetted by the standing committee.... Read further here.
In another significant change approved by the Cabinet, victims can appeal against acquittals. This provision can act as a deterrent against frequent instances of collusion between the prosecution and the accused. Put simply, those of the sort who allegedly tried to help the accused in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case may have to contend with the alert relatives of victims tracking their conduct.
The Cabinet also decided to commute capital punishment of a pregnant convict to life imprisonment, in keeping with the principle that helped Nalini, convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, escape the noose.
Though officials are not sure whether the bill would be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing Budget session, both home and law ministries are keen that the proposed legislation be taken up during the monsoon session.
The changes related to rape seek to provide protection to victims, many of whom don’t dare step forward to complain, or, in the case of the brave ones who defy the stigma to report the crime, to endure police investigations and trial proceedings.
If the proposed legislation gets Parliament's nod, investigation of rape cases will be conducted at the residence of the victim and "so far as practicable, by a woman police officer". It also makes provision for a victim to be questioned in the presence of her parents or a social worker of the locality. These provisions will spare the victims of the agony of visiting police stations and answering inconvenient — obscene in many cases — questions in the presence of unknown persons.
The suggestion for the presence of women trial judges will also cushion against the insensitive inquisition by the defence counsel which can scar the victim with the feeling of being violated a second time.
Changes have also been approved for quick disposal of rape cases without leaving scope for postponement or adjournment of proceedings.
Labels: Progress towards solutions