Daily hearings in rape cases may increase pendency in courts: Experts | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Daily hearings in rape cases may increase pendency in courts: Experts

The Delhi high court's directive to all additional sessions judges, handling cases of sexual assault on women to hold daily hearings in such cases, has sparked a debate. Harish V Nair reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2012 02:23 IST
Harish V Nair

The Delhi high court's directive to all additional sessions judges, handling cases of sexual assault on women to hold daily hearings in such cases, has sparked a debate.

Former judges and lawyers having unanimously welcomed the move issued a caveat that it might increase pendency of other cases before each judge and "overstretch" them.

They say recruitment of more judges and setting up of additional courts should tackle the problem in the long run.

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While 963 rape cases are pending before sessions judges in six courts in the Capital the total number of other cases, including murder, pending before them is 16,959.

"Things will get clear only after we begin the day-day-day hearings. Of course we may have to fix longer dates for other cases such as murder. Pendency may rise and affect monthly disposal of cases which is always under supervision," a sessions judge said, requesting anonymity.

He said it is also not clear how many rape cases will be transferred to the five special fast-track courts to be set up for trial exclusively in rape cases.

"The workability of day-to-day trial does not hinge completely on the judge. The speed of the trial also depend on the cooperation of the defence lawyers and the prosecution and readiness of witnesses to depose on time," said justice (retired) JD Kapoor.

"It should also be kept in mind that victims of murder, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and dacoity also need justice," said justice (retired) RS Sodhi.

Another retired judge SN Dhingra said the best solution would be to recruit more judges.

"For the upcoming fast-track courts the judges will be drawn from existing sessions courts, which would further deplete the strength," he said. Senior criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani described it as only a "short-term step" and said that "a final solution was appointment of competent judges with ability to speedily dispose of cases".