Sahyog Trust to train lawyers to represent rape victims, families

Trained lawyers will intervene in rape, rape-murder cases on request and work for free

City-based Sahyog Trust is all set to train lawyers from 14 districts in representing rape victims and their families in the court to ensure that the existing provisions are duly implemented and the victim gets justice.

For instance, despite a Supreme Court (SC) ruling that private lawyers can argue on behalf of rape victims along with public prosecutors, it is not widely implemented. "There are times when public prosecutors are bought by the police machinery to weaken the case so the accused get acquitted or are minimally punished. Such malpractices can be curbed by implementing this provision," said Asim Sarode, founder, Sahyog Trust.

In order to give strong legal backing to such victims, Sahyog Trust will be training private lawyers from 14 districts, including Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Nashik, Yavatmal, Amravati and Latur, who will be able to represent rape victims with their sound legal knowledge, sensitivity and honesty. "These lawyers will intervene in rape and rape-murder cases on request and work for free to represent the victim after their training," Sarode said.

The first session is likely to take place in Pune this month with retired judges, police officers and counsellors training the participants.

"The lawyers will be trained for the language to be used while taking statements from the aggrieved women and their family members, preparing them to give statements to police and to testify in the court, persuading the victim's family to support her during the trial, among others," said Sarode. He added that the aggrieved woman's participation in the trial could not only help her get better monetary compensation (there is a provision of getting up to Rs two lakh for the victim), but also influence the judgment.

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