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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Experts suggest women judges for fast-track courts

Harish V Nair and Sumit Saxena, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 09, 2013
First Published: 01:25 IST(9/1/2013) | Last Updated: 09:50 IST(9/1/2013)

A day after Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir asked high court chief justices to fast-track cases of offences against women, legal experts suggested that women judges must be appointed in such courts as far as possible for better dispensation of justice.

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Justice Geeta Mittal of the Delhi High Court had emphasised this several times in her judgements. She maintained that a women judge would make it easier for a victim to narrate in detail the sequence of events, which is a crucial part of recording of evidence as questions she has to answer make her relive those moments again.

Changes are already being planned in the criminal procedure code to specify that statements would only be recorded by a woman police officer and trial would also be conducted before a woman judge, as far as possible. Women judges are presiding over only two of the six fast-track courts to try offences against women announced by the Delhi Government recently.

In a 2009 judgment, justice Mittal had even criticised holding of trial involving minor rape victims in open court.

She said that a friendly atmosphere should be created for them in the guardianship of their parents during recording of evidence.

Senior counsel Pinky Anand said, "The victim requires support and a female judge instills confidence in a rape victim."

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jai Singh said, "Rape victims do feel comfortable in recording evidence before a female judge but it does not mean that a male judge cannot hear rape cases."

'No serious flaw with justice system'
Amid clamour for strong laws to deal with sex offenders, NHRC chairperson KG Balakrishnan on Tuesday said the agency did not agree with some of the punishments suggested for them as there was "no serious flaw" in the criminal justice system. He also said speedy justice cannot be delivered unless there were more courts.


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