Amid growing demands for time-bound trials in rape cases following outrage over Sunday night’s gangrape in Delhi, Rajasthan leads in ensuring convictions of those found guilty of committing such heinous crimes in a record time — less than a month.
A look at some of the rape cases in Rajasthan provides an effective solution on how the police and courts can restore public faith in the justice delivery system.
Though the police have 90 days to file a chargesheet in such criminal cases before the trial begins in court — where it can linger on for years — Rajasthan has shown that the entire process can be completed within a few days.
In 2005, a fast-track court in Jodhpur convicted two autorickshaw drivers of raping a German tourist and sentenced them to life imprisonment within three weeks of the offence having been committed. The trial was concluded in court in 16 days.
The victim had identified the accused before she left for Germany without waiting for the trial to conclude.
This record was bettered a year later in April 2006 by another court in Alwar, which convicted a top police officer’s son within 10 working days of the trial having started, and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment for raping a foreign student. Though the student took some days to report the incident, the police filed the chargesheet within three days in court.
In 2008, a guest house owner in Udaipur was sentenced to life by a court after holding him guilty of raping a British journalist. The trial was concluded within four months.
A senior Rajasthan government official said though the conviction rate in rape cases across the country and the state is dismally low, it has been proved that investigators and courts can expedite trials, if they determine to do so.