Make investigating officers, prosecutors accountable in rape cases: Gujarat HC

Gujarat HC

Coming down heavily on the police and prosecutors for their "casualness" in handling of rape cases, the Gujarat High Court has said they should be held accountable if they "fail the victims in securing justice".

"It is high time the investigating officer as well as the prosecutor concerned are held accountable, and appropriate actions taken against them after affording them opportunity of being heard and explain the circumstances leading to failure of the prosecution," the HC said in a recent judgement.

The division Bench of Justices D H Waghela and G R Udhwani also called for guidelines for the IOs and prosecutors, while dismissing an appeal filed by the state government against acquittal in a rape case.

The government had sought High Court's leave to challenge the acquittal of four men in an abduction and rape case by Vadodara Sessions Court last year.

Refusing to grant leave, the court noted: "Even in cases of gross failure of prosecution, no action is taken against any IO... Only a formal filing of appeal and an application for leave to appeal are resorted to, obviously with a view to finishing the formality of exhausting avenues for judicial remedy.

"The prosecution fails mainly because of incompetence, disinterest or complicity of the investigation officer in failing to secure necessary evidence.

"Merely initiating prosecution and producing evidence before courts or filing appeals do not meet the ends of justice. Failure of the prosecution in genuine cases...erodes

the faith of the people in the rule of law."

The High Court also said that government should stop prosecuting people on "defective or dishonest investigation", while directing the government to take measures for "improving and streamlining the process of investigation and prosecution at trial court level".

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