Friday, September 11, 2009

Fast track courts for rape cases

I am liking more and more the steps that India is setting up to combat false accusations from being rewarded.

Courts to check registry for false accusations

To check false registration of rape cases and their politicisation for compensation, the Union government has decided that the money to be awarded to rape victims will be decided by special fast track courts hearing the cases.

Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said the Law Ministry had agreed that the power to award compensation should be vested with fast track courts.

“This has been done to check registration of false cases… We don’t want a scenario like in Inderpuri (West Delhi) where a woman accused a police officer of rape and later confessed that the allegation was levelled to save her husband, who was arrested by the police,” she said.

“There’ve been instances of politicisation of rape cases — as in Uttar Pradesh,” she said.

The UP government had arrested state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi for her anti-Mayawati remarks on the issue of compensation to several rape victims in the state.

The Centre’s decision has also raised some concerns.

Bharati Ali, of HAQ for Child Rights, was sceptical whether giving powers to award compensation to fast track courts would work. “It will not help rape victims who need immediate rehabilitation,” she said.

Raj Mangal Prasad of Delhi Police NGO Pratidhi, however, said the move might improve conviction rate in rape cases. “There will be an incentive to speak the truth,” he said.

As per National Crime Records Bureau, conviction rate in rape cases in 2006 was 19.5 per cent.

Tirath said linking the compensation with fast track courts would ensure speedy justice for the victims.

For this, the Law Ministry has agreed to provide money to state governments to set up fast track courts for rape cases.

The WCD Ministry, too, has linked disbursement of compensation with setting up of fast track courts. It has a formulated a scheme of Rs 150 crore.