Chavan talks fast-track courts with chief justice

With crime against women rising, CM Prithviraj Chavan said Tuesday he was focusing on ensuring speedy justice to victims and had spoken with the chief justice of Bombay High Court on measures to fill vacancies and setting up fast-track courts.

While Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa said her government would request the Centre to make necessary changes to include death penalty and chemical castration in law for those involved in such crimes, Chavan said Parliament could take a call on amending laws but he was more concerned about improving conviction rate and delivering speedy justice.

"Even if punishment is increased to death or castration, what is the use if verdict comes after 20 years? There is a need for speedy and timely justice. I have spoken to the chief justice today about steps to be taken, we will meet next week to decide," he said.

The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, announced plans to set up 25 additional fast-track courts to try cases of crime against women, in the wake of outrage over the brutal Delhi gangrape.

Chavan said he would ensure vacancies, especially the 26 in the 79 fast-track courts already in place in state, are filled.

"We have announced to set up 25 special fast-track courts. There are some 26 vacancies to fill," he said.

CM will meet the chief justice again next week. He said there was "unacceptably high" pendancy of rape cases in the state.

In a related development, home minister R R Patil met women commuters at Churchgate Railway Station. He suggested measures to step up vigil against errant hawkers entering ladies compartments.

Patil said complaints from women had reduced after the government started posting a constable in each ladies compartment at night.

"They (women) expressed satisfaction over security, especially with the posting of the constable. However, they also had some complaints about hawkers entering compartments and causing problems. I have asked officials to take necessary measures," he said.

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