In a move that might provide speedier justice to victims of child abuse in the Kavdas and Kalyani orphanages, in Thane and New Panvel respectively, the Bombay high court has ruled that the accused in these cases be tried in Mumbai.
The HC on Thursday transferred the shocking cases of physical and sexual abuse of minor inmates of these two homes to the Mumbai sessions court, to ensure speedy trials.
The division bench also directed the Mumbai sessions court to record evidence in both cases using video conference.
Additional government pleader Vinay Sompal submitted that recording evidence through the audio-visual medium was necessary, as the victims were minors and were mentally challenged. He said the physical presence of the accused may hamper their testimony.
Advocate PD Dalvi, representing Surekha Karanjule, an accused in New Panvel case, took strong objection to the pleas. He contended that the cases could not be transferred to Mumbai, as the investigation was not yet complete in New Panvel case.
He also pointed out a provision of section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which requires recording of evidence in presence of accused persons.
The judges however said, "We see no impediment in directing recording of evidence on audio-video electronic medium."
The court was hearing a suo motu proceeding taken up last year after newspaper reports revealed sexual abuse, physical harassment and ill treatment of inmates at the two orphanages.