Despite having strict laws to deal with crime against women and children post the Delhi gangrape, the conviction remains low owing to hostile victims and witnesses.
Legal luminaries blame social stigma, socio economic status of the victims, along with other societal pressures and failure of the administration to implement the witness protection programme as reasons for turning hostile.
Additional district and sessions judge Anshu Shukla, while presiding over a special court for crime against women on Friday, acquitted three persons booked in three separate cases of rape and kidnap after the victims retracted from the allegations.
Ravi Kumar, a resident of Jagatpura booked in March for kidnap and rape of a 16-year-old resident of Nehru colony, was acquitted as the victim claimed she had left home on her won will owing to stress.
Jay Prakash, a resident of Indira colony, booked in February 2013 for molesting his neighbour was acquitted after the victim turned hostile.
Kajehri resident Sushil Kumar, who was booked in March 2013 on the charges of kidnap and rape of the neighbour, was acquitted considering contradictions in statements of the victim. Earlier, the victim had claimed that she had left home on her own will but later claimed to be threatened by accused to depose in his favour.
WHY THEY TURN HOSTILE
“Many a times a case is registered on the complaint of parents of the victim, and even in cases where the victims have gone on their won will men are booked as most of the victims are minor. Social stigma and pressure from relatives is what makes the victims go back on allegations,” said advocate Yadwinder Singh Sandhu.
“Acquittal in cases does not every time imply that it was a false case. Most of the times, the witnesses or the victim turn hostile owing to ‘undue considerations’ or the pressure from the accused,” opined advocate Vikas Sagar.
“Protection of witness is definitely the need of the hour as witness to the crime is under tremendous pressure from both prosecution and accused. The administration has failed to implement the programme to safeguard the identity of victims as well as witnesses, thus exposing them to be won over by the accused family,” added advocate Sunil Kumar.
“The graph of the cases falling flat due to hostile witnesses is high in cases dealing with crime against women. If action is taken against hostile witnesses it would definitely instil fear in the minds of others. Law needs to have provisions of punishing the accused if witness turns hostile under his pressure and at the same time the police should also be penalised if it is proved that the witnesses produced are fake or tutored,” maintained advocate Arun Dogra.