No justice for rape victims: System is broken

16 January 2021


ALL the accused in 25 rape cases filed from 2012 to 2016 were granted bail between 24 hours and 15 days of arrest, although the offence is not bailable under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000. Rights body findings showed that most of the accused have tried to influence the proceedings in different ways. The exception in Section 19 (4) of the act, which entitles any person accused of the offence to get bail upon the court's satisfaction to ensure that justice wii not be hampered.
Investigation and charge sheet submissions were delayed as an overwhelming majority of these cases are still under trial and at the hearing stage, while charge sheets have been filed in 22 cases six months after the case was filed. In most cases, victims' parents were unwilling to go to court out of their frustration about the legal battle, while poor parents are reluctant to continue legal battles due to financial constraints. The public prosecutors, meanwhile, do not take any initiative to produce the victim and the witness in court on the date of the case. Nine cases filed during 2014-15 and 12 cases filed during 2016-2017 are yet to get verdicts, although the law mandates completion of cases within 180 days of the date of receipt of documents for trial. Besides, children and female victims are being blamed and mistreated in the judicial process by police and the defendant's attorneys. Even though adjudicating the crime of rape is uncompromising under the law, courts often compromise under circumstantial pressure. Even though the two-finger tests have been banned by the High Court, the process is still followed in remote areas.
The justice is near broken. Police cannot apply law for ensuring real culprits to bring to justice. Everybody knows it and everybody ignores it.

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