India’s justice system

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/23/2020 12:34:40 PM IST

 More than seven years after a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped in a private moving bus in Delhi on December 16,2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi, four men convicted for the brutal assault were hanged on March 20,2020 . The hanging brought to an end a seven-year quest for justice by the parents of ‘Nirbhaya’ rape victim. The five adult convicts - Ram, Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were sentenced to hang. One of them, Ram Singh was found dead in his cell on March 11,2013 of suspected suicide. The juvenile escaped being tried along with them as he was six months short of 18. The juvenile was sentenced to three years in a correctional home and was released. In November 2015, a month before the juvenile was going to be released, Nirbhaya’s family demanded that the juvenile’s identity be made public, keeping in mind the safety threat posed by him. However, his identity was never revealed as per the Act. The juvenile was a beneficiary of the earlier Juvenile Justice Act where any offender below 18 is not treated as an adult despite the heinousness of the crime committed. Later in 2015, the amendment replaced the Indian juvenile delinquency law, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and allows for juveniles in conflict with Law in the age group of 16–18, involved in Heinous Offences, to be tried as adults. The amendment could have been done in early part of 2015 but disruptions in parliament prevented that. The case again brings to the fore, the endemic problem of rapes. Women reported almost 34,000 rapes in 2018, which barely changed from the year before. Just over 85 per cent led to charges, and 27 per cent to convictions, according to the annual crime report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Through the decades, conviction rates have hardly touched 30%. The undue delay in the case has only confirmed how frustrating and at times difficult it is to obtain justice in India. If the saying ‘justice delayed in justice denied’ is applied, the Nirbhaya case proves that. Nirbhaya’s parents have been fighting for justice and never gave up. If they had not pursued the case, it could have been consigned to gather dust along with more than 1.3 lakh pending rape cases. This shows how the justice system operates in India. Currently, there are more 2.8 crore cases pending in various courts across India, with more than 60,000 matters before the Supreme Court. The problem however, is not of too many cases coming into the system; it is of too few coming out. Justice has been delivered for Nirbhaya’s parents and for Indians. However, justice has also to be delivered for rapists involved in other heinous cases, such as the infamous rape of a minor in J&K and rape of a teen at Unnao in UP by an MLA. If the law is to be seen as effective, it has to ensure that crimes do not go unpunished and the ball is in the court of the law makers to ensure that rape culture does not become one among unwanted cultures in India. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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