In a major step towards fast-tracking rape trials, the Delhi high court on Sunday directed all lower court judges handling cases of sexual assault on women in the Capital to hold day-to-day hearings.
Following the public outcry for justice for all rape victims, the statement announcing the court decision was issued on a holiday — an unprecedented move. “The recent brutal gangrape in Delhi has shaken the entire nation. There is widespread outrage in the Capital and the Delhi high court has also taken a very serious view of the matter,” it said.
Delaying tactics by the defence, adjournments on frivolous grounds and overburdened courts are some of the reasons why rape cases drag on for years delaying justice.
According to official figures, as on October 1, there were 963 rape cases pending in six district courts in the Capital.
"The administrative committee of the Delhi high court has resolved to issue directions to all additional session judges in Delhi that cases of sexual assault on women will be tried on day-to-day
basis from the date of commencement of the trial," read the statement.
On December 20, taking suo motu cognisance of the gangrape, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan had cleared the state government's proposal to set up five fast-track trial courts for speedy trial in rape cases.
The court said steps will be taken for establishment of such courts immediately after the winter vacations, which will end on January 2.