Do not try minors` rape cases in open court: Delhi HC

Last Updated: Sunday, October 4, 2009 - 09:42

New Delhi: The trial of cases involving minor
rape victims in open court has come in for severe criticism
by the Delhi High Court which has said that a friendly
atmosphere should be created for them in the guardianship of
their parents during recording of their evidence.

"The child victim (of rape) shall not be separated from
her parents/guardians on the ground of ascertaining the
voluntary nature of statement," the High Court said quoting
the guidelines issued by it in a previous judgment.
"No court shall detain a child in an institution meant
for the adults," justice Gita Mittal said expressing anguish
that all these guidelines put in place were being ignored by
the trial court while dealing with cases of rape against
minors.

The court`s observations came while setting aside the
conviction and seven year sentence of a rape accused.

The judge noted that the victim contradicted her
statements with regard to the place of occurrence of crime
because of inadvertence in the hearing process on the part of
the magistrate.

"The statement under section 164 of the CrPC was recorded
by the magistrate during the course of investigation. It would
appear that individual sensibilities clouded the proceedings
resulting in a camouflage of the evidence so much so that
complete truth has not been brought out," justice Mittal said.
Referring to the guidelines laid down by the High Court,
the judgement said the statement of the victim has to be
recorded at the earliest by the magistrate and granting
any adjournment avoided during the trial of the case.

"Despite the several pronouncements of the apex Court as
well as the High Courts, it is to be noted that the trial
courts have failed to comply with the same," the High Court
said.

In a case of rape involving minor, the High Court also
directed the police to comply with the court`s earlier
directions that it is ensured that the statement of victim
is video recorded.

Among other directions, the High Court asked the police
to register the FIR immediately after receiving a complaint
and depute a woman officer to deal with the victim of a sexual
crime.

"The officer recording the statement of the child victim
should not be in police uniform," said justice Mittal adding
that the statement of the victim should be recorded without
loss of time.

The court also asked the police to protect the identity
of the child from publicity and investigate the case on a
priority basis.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, October 4, 2009 - 09:42

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