Inaugurating a fast track court that will try the accused in the case of gangrape and murder of a Delhi girl, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Wednesday cautioned against lynch-mob mentality and promised swift justice in cases of sexual offences against women.
"It is good to know that after this rather tragic incident of December 16, people have started raising their voices against certain crimes against society, against crime against women. But the immediate reaction of people has been that don't put these persons to trial, hand them over to us, we will deal with them, hang them. Now these kinds of sentiments, which are emotional, are rather dangerous sentiments. But these emotions will continue until the matter comes to us and we deal with them expeditiously," Justice Altamas Kabir said inaugurating the first of the five fast track courts that will hear cases of sexual offences against women.
The FTC, inaugurated by the CJI in Saket court complex in South Delhi in the presence of Delhi high court Chief Justice D Murugesan, will conduct the trial of the accused in the gangrape of a Delhi girl who also suffered a brutal assault that led to her death in a Singapore hospital last week.
Justice Kabir said, "Let us not lose sight of the fact that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Let us balance things. Let us not get carried away.
Provide justice in a fair but swift manner so that faith of people is once again restored that the judiciary is there behind the common man. These kinds of crimes, which have been on an upswing, will be taken care of."
Stressing that December 16 incident of gangrape of the 23-year-old student was not an isolated incident and such crimes are happening everywhere, Justice Kabir said to address such crimes one has to understand what a woman goes through in such cases.
Addressing the judicial officers, he said, "Such crimes are not against the body of a woman but her soul."
"The incident of December 16 is not an isolated incident. such matters are happening everyday. Even on that day itself, while the headline showed this particular case, on the third or fourth page of a newspaper, there was a little article of about six lines or eight lines that a ten-year old Delhi girl was gangraped and then set on fire," he said stressing upon the need for fast-tracking all such cases of sexual offences.
"That did not capture the attention of people. This case did. Why is it that certain cases catch the attention? These are all equally reprehensible. Imagine a six-month-old baby being raped. It's a small item in the newspaper and then it is taken away," he said.
Promising swift justice, the CJI said, "I on my part will try my level best that the part of the case on administration side is taken care of and the things are done expeditiously in a fashion where the things can be brought to the court as expeditiously as possible."
He also said "one has to understand the trauma a woman goes through, and this has been repeatedly said in our judgements, when she is forced against her will.
"It is not a crime against body but the soul itself. If the soul of the woman has to be saved one has to understand the psychology," he said.
Justice Kabir also said, "The Fast Track Court, particularly for trying offences against women, is not only necessary but also welcome and the government has also woken up to this and has immediately agreed that there should be Fast Track court to try these kind of cases on a priority basis."
While reiterating that all crimes are condemnable, the CJI said "crimes particularly against women, children, disabled persons need our immediate attention so that the perpetrators of these kind of crimes are brought to justice as quickly as possible, as swiftly as possible so that the message is sent to all and sundry that these matters are going to be dealt with seriously."
The CJI also pointed that such incidents also happen because people do not follow or do what is needed to be done.
"Take a simple case, this particular incident happened in a moving bus which roamed for three hours in Delhi while this was being done inside. Nobody knew what was happening inside. This particular bus had tinted windows and curtains.
"If the directives which had been given by the Supreme Court to remove tinted glass or the film or curtains from the windows of the vehicles were followed, may be this would have been noticed by the people. The public is not totally insensitive. If the public had been able to see such kind of incident happening, it could have been stopped but it was not visible."
"Sometimes we fail in our duties. When something bad happens, it is then that we start waking up," he said.