CJI calls for ‘fair, speedy’ trial

FP

Inaugurating a fast-track court at the Saket court complex here to deal with cases of sexual offences against women, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Wednesday said "crimes against women, children, disabled persons, senior citizens need immediate attention, and such cases should be tried as quickly as possible".

The case related to the gangrape of the 23-year-old who died on Saturday will be heard in this fast-track court after the chargesheet is filed by the police.

Four more fast-track courts to try cases of sexual crimes against women are expected to begin functioning in the city on Thursday. All new as well as pending cases of sexual assault will be transferred to these courts. The decision to set up these courts was taken following widespread protests over the gangrape on December 16.

While he asked the judiciary to "come down heavily on such types of crime", the CJI cautioned that "the judges should not lose sight of the basic philosophy of criminal law that a person is innocent until proven guilty". He said they should deal with such matters "fairly and as speedily as possible".

"It is good to know that after this rather tragic incident, people have started raising their voices against crime against women. But the immediate reaction has been that don't put these persons to trial, hand them over to us, we will deal with them, hang them. Now these kinds of sentiments, which are emotional, are rather dangerous," said the CJI.

Delhi High Court Chief Justice D Murugesan, who was also present on the occasion, also warned that "fair trial should not be sacrificed for the sake of a speedy trial". He asked the judges to hear all such cases on a day-to-day basis whenever possible, and dispose of such cases speedily.

Stressing that the Delhi gangrape was not an isolated incident, Justice Kabir said "such crimes are not against the body of a woman but her soul."

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