Rajya Sabha nod to changes in CrPC Bill
Far-reaching changes in the Code of Criminal Procedure were approved by the Rajya Sabha today to lessen the agony of rape victims by involving women in all stages of investigation and trial. The path-breaking bill provides for protection to rape victims and hearing of the cases by women judges as far as practicable.india Updated: Dec 18, 2008 21:20 IST
Far-reaching changes in the Code of Criminal Procedure were approved by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday to lessen the agony of rape victims by involving women in all stages of investigation and trial.
The path-breaking bill provides for protection to rape victims and hearing of the cases by women judges as far as practicable, Home Minister P Chidambaram told the House while winding up a brief discussion on The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill.
The Bill also envisages providing compensation to victims of crime, he said.
He said an important feature of the Bill is that a rape victim would be medically examined by a female medical practitioner and the victim's statement would be recorded at her residence by a woman officer.
The Bill discourages frequent adjournments of hearings and provides for special facilities for trial of people of unsound mind, Chidambaram said.
He said the Bill has been brought to the House after giving due consideration to the recommendations of the Sanding Committee. The Bill was first introduced in the Upper House in August 2006 and referred to the Standing Committee.
"The effort is to make the Bill more humane to law-abiding citizens and more difficult for those who try to violate the law," the Home Minister said.
The Bill has provision for audio-video recording of a statement of witnesses and trial of cases through video conferences.
The need for amending the CrPC Bill was felt in view of the "growing tendency" of witnesses being induced or threatened to turn hostile by the accused parties who are influential, rich and powerful, the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said.
At present, the victims are the worst sufferers in a crime and they do not have much role in the court proceedings. "They need to be given certain rights and compensation, so that there is no distortion of the criminal justice system," it said.
The application of technology in investigation, inquiry and trial is expected to reduce delays, help in gathering credible evidences and minimise the risk of escape of the remand prisoners during transit, it said. The Bill seeks to provide relief to women, particularly victims of sexual offences, and fair trial to persons of unsound mind who are not able to defend themselves. Chidambaram said that the exercise of finalising the amendments has been taken in an elaborate manner keeping in mind the recommendations of the Law Commission. "As we live and learn, we will amend the CrPC from time to time," he said.
The Home Minister expressed concern over the pendency of a large number of cases in courts.