Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has urged Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to set up fast track higher courts or come up with some other mechanism to expedite hearings in rape cases.
The chief minister’s letter comes a day after a man was arrested in Satna for allegedly raping a four-year-old girl.
In a letter dated July 2, Chouhan said he was writing as incidents of rape “have created an uproar” among citizens. “Stringent penal provisions in law seem to un-deter a few hardcore criminal-minded people, who do not seem to be afraid of getting punished by the system,” he wrote.
Chouhan said that in Indore, where a four-month-old child was raped and killed in April, investigation was completed in seven days and trial in another 22 days. A 21-year-old man was sentenced to death after he was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering the child. “But unless and until appeals are decided by High Courts and the apex court expeditiously, justice cannot be said to be done,” he wrote.
Clarifying that he is not saying an accused does not deserve a fair trial, he said a speedy trial will reduce the psychological suffering of the complainant and set an example for others.
On Friday, Chouhan said rapists were a “burden on the earth” and do not deserve to live.
At least four such incidents of sexual assault on minors have been reported in the state since April. Two people were arrested for allegedly abducting and raping an eight-year-old girl in Mandsaur last week.
The state Assembly passed a law in December that awards death penalty, life imprisonment or a minimum 14-year jail term to those convicted of raping children aged 12 years or below. The law also awards strict punishment for stalking, disrobing or sex on the pretext of marriage.