Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Monday formed a panel of two Supreme Court judges to speed up clearing sexual assault cases, reported Bar and Bench. The judicial committee of Justices Subhash Reddy and MR Shah will “monitor, supervise and make suggestions for expeditious trial in cases relating to rape and POCSO across the country”.
Earlier this month, Chief Justice Bobde had admitted that the judicial system has certain flaws. “There is no doubt that the criminal justice system must reconsider its position and attitudes towards laxity and the eventual time it takes to dispose of the criminal matter,” he had said.
During the Winter Session of Parliament, the Centre proposed to set up 1,023 special fast-track courts for speedy trials of over 1,66,000 pending cases of crimes against women and children across the country. “The total estimated cost is Rs 767.25 crore, out of which Central share is Rs 474 crore,” Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani had said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
The decision to form this panel was taken amid a growing perception that people have lost faith in the judiciary due to inordinate delay and poor rate of conviction, reported NDTV.
The panel comes at a time when there has been a raging debate over the Telangana encounter in which four men accused of raping and killing a woman were shot dead near Hyderabad.
In the early hours of December 6, the Telangana Police had said the four accused were killed in an encounter when they were trying to flee from custody. The accused had tried to flee when they were taken to the murder site to reconstruct the crime scene and allegedly snatched a weapon and fired at the police, resulting in a cross-fire.
While many people and political leaders celebrated the encounter, the National Human Rights Commission said the matter needs to be investigated “very carefully”. Human rights organisation Amnesty International India had also criticised the killings, saying the incident sets a “disturbing precedent of circumventing the legal system” and called for an independent inquiry. A number of other people had also warned about the dangers of “extra-judicial killings” while several politicians praised the Telangana Police and the government for “delivering justice”.
A day after the encounter, Bobde had said justice must never take the form of revenge. “But I don’t think justice can ever be and ought to be instant, and justice must never ever take the form of revenge,” Bobde added. “I believe justice loses its character when it becomes revenge.”
On December 12, the Supreme Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the encounter, and observed that there were aspects of the state government’s version that needed an independent inquiry.