UP plans fast-track justice in women abuse cases

UP government plans to set up 218 new fast-track courts for speedy trial to ensure quick justice in cases involving sexual assault and violence against women, reports Mudit Mathur

Taking strong view on public outcry against mounting incidents of sexual assault and violence against women, the UP government would be setting up 218 new fast-track courts for speedy trial to ensure quick justice. The decision came in wake of directives of Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to fast track process of trial for ensuring speedy justice to victims of sexual offences under POCSO and Indian Penal Code. The state cabinet took this decision in its meeting chaired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath on December 9.

Highlighting the plan of the government, the Law and Justice Minister Brajesh Pathak told Tehelka, “The state has pendency of 42,388 cases relating to sexual offences against children and 25,749 cases of rape and sexual crimes against women in trial courts of the state which need to be streamlined and fast tracked.”“Due to the high number of pending cases and for their speedy disposal, 218 new fast-track courts will be set up in the state. Of these, 144 will be especially for crimes against women and they will hear only rape cases. As many as 74 new fast track courts will be dedicated to trying cases of crimes against children under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act,” Pathak added.

The law minister said that new posts of additional session judges would be created for these 218 fast track courts.“An estimated 75 lakh budget will be earmarked for each of these courts. While the state will bear 40 per cent of the earmarked fund remaining 60 per cent support would come from the Centre,” Pathak said.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recorded maximum offences against women in Uttar Pradesh. Itslatest annual Crime in India Report 2017 mentioned that during the year 3, 59,849 cases of crime against women reported in the country. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 56,011 cases followed by Maharashtra with 31,979 cases and West Bengal 30,002.The phenomena remained more or less the same this year too as the state witnessed barbaric crimes against women and unfortunately careless role of police machinery in the cases against Swami Chinmayanand, MLA Kuldeep Singh Senger, Mainpurihostel girl and horrific incident of setting ablaze Unnao rape victim has put the BJP government on the back foot.

The Unnao rape-survivor woman with 90 per cent burnt airlifted by government in most critical condition to Safdarjung hospital Delhi where she succumbed to her injuries. This incident resulted in outrageous reactions from political circlesagainst BJP government. BSP chief Mayawati met Governor Anandi Ben to provide proper security to women. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav sat before the Vidhan Sabha building in protest of police inaction that could have saved victim’s life from the accused persons, who came outfrom jail after getting bail from the High Court.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadralost no time to make political attack on ruling BJP government’s failure.Onlast Saturday,Priyanka rushed to Unnao to meet the bereaved family members of the gang-rape survivor who died in a Delhi hospital after setting ablaze by the accused and held the Uttar Pradesh government solely responsible for her death. Some senior Congress leaders including Ajay Kumar ‘Lallu’, Aradhana Mishra ‘Mona’ and Pramod Tewari accompanied her to the victim’s village.

After meeting the victim’s family at their mud house, Priyanka alleged, “Bharatiya Janata Party government was patronising criminals and this had led to recurrent crimes against women in the state.Imagine in the Unnao district alone 90 cases of rape has been reported in the last 11 months.” “The BJP government says there is no place for criminals in UP. But the way in which anarchy has spread and crimes against women are taking place in the state, I wonder if in today’s UP there is any place for women,” she said. “Hollow law and order mechanism in UP denied justice to survivors of sexual violations. Thegovernment did not provide security to the Unnao gang-rape victim even though a similar incident had earlier taken place in the same district,” she added.

Later in a tweet, Priyanka questioned, “Why the victim of Unnao gang-rape case was not given security keeping in mind an earlier incident of Unnao? What action has been taken on the police officials who refused to register aFIR? What steps are being taken by the government to stop crime against women, which take place on a daily basis?”It was second occasion in a month when Priyanka attacked chief minister Yogi Adityanath over declining law and order situation.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday termed the death of Unnao gang rape victim ‘extremely sad’ and conveyed his condolences to the aggrieved family. “All the accused persons have been arrested. The case will be taken to a fast-track court, and punishment will be given,” he said in a statement. Asa measure of damage control,chief minister deputed his cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya and minister incharge Kamla Rani Varun to visit the victim’s family who were protesting with her dead body and refusing to perform her last rites unless their demand are fulfilled. Mr Maurya handed over a cheque of 25 lakh from CM fund. He assured the family a house under PM Housing scheme and provisions of other reliefs as and when required. He assured that the guilty would not be spared and government will ensure justice.

On December 8 night, state government suspended seven police officials for alleged negligence of duty that led to the death of the Unnao rape victim. The suspended cops included Ajay Kumar Tripathi, Station House Officer (SHO) of Unnao’s Bihar police station, along with six other police personnel.

The chief minister Yogi Adityanath has pull up the police administration to be sensitive towards crime against women. He has taken high level meeting of senior police officers and top bureaucrats to gear up criminal justice system. The prosecution department failed to yield results in securing conviction in heinous crime because its public prosecutors, who are duly qualified law graduate and appointed through UP Public service Commission,are not authorized to conduct trial at Sessions stage.The government assigned this job,without any accountability,to politically appointed panel of advocates who appear to be least bothered about the acquittal of criminals in the trial because of weak presentation of cases.The crime graph is rising because criminals do not fear breaking law due to lack of deterrent punishment and strict conviction.