Nirbhaya’s case shook the entire nation particularly young generation from head to toe. The brutal assault on Delhi based physiotherapist raised large number of voices against Justice Delivery System. This led to certain revolutionary reforms in Judiciary which includes setting up of Fast Track Courts for disposing of the cases relating to heinous crime against women such as abduction, rape, dowry death etc. Chief Justice of India had written to all the High Court of the Country which resulted in creation of such exclusive courts presided over by women Judicial officers in most of the courts so that the large number of cases relating to women pending in various courts are disposed of expeditiously.
On the direction of the High Courts, subordinate judiciary at District level started disposing such cases in speedy mode even in few days. Very often in the print media, we studied about decision of various courts particularly in Punjab that cases relating rape and other crime against women are disposed of by a court within 7 days, 5 days or amazing in 2 days!
Such a sensitivity of Judicial Officers can be understood particularly when there is huge pressure of High Courts. However, we need to see the scenario from the other side of the wall also. Can such a case, on a very serious matter that too when authenticated investigation is required and live and liberty of accused is at stake should be decided in a haste. No doubt, justice to the prosecute/victim should be provided at any cost and without delay, but sometimes trial by media and social pressure may lead to miscarriage of justice also. A sessions trial such as rape, murder which normally takes months to conclude, if decided within few days to reduce the pend-ency anticipating that if accused in innocent then an appeal to the High Court or the Apex Court may set the person free, is misconceived. If an under trial is economically poor, he may not be able to appeal to superior court and this can confine him behind the bars for years which is violation of his fundamental right to life and liberty provided to every citizen by the Constitution of India under Article 21.
We also come across number of cases when personal enmity can lead to innocent persons booked for rape cases. Recently, Punjab Police has exposed number of such cases where innocent persons were falsely implicated in rape cases and ultimately police withdrew the charges of rape and sexual assault.
When the public outcry wants death sentence to be imposed on perpetrators of such inhuman acts, then sentencing accused in such a small time ignoring other cases in the cause list is not an ideal course of action. What we want is quality in quantity for which Indian Judiciary is acknowledged in the international legal sphere and not just quantity in a hurry to reduce the pend-ency of more than 3 crore cases pending in various courts at all levels for which reforms, known to everybody, like filling up of the existing vacancies of Judges, staff and adequate infrastructure is required and good news is that the necessary steps in this regard have been initiated.