Shoddy investigations led to the acquittal of the accused in as many as 50 instances of rape and trafficking, an analysis of the cases has revealed. Shakti Vahini, a city NGO, did an analysis of judgments in rape cases of various district courts in Delhi and found that investigators could have done better.
“The police have been lacking in performing its task of carrying out investigations properly. There is, therefore, a perception that the guilty can get away,” Ravi Kant, executive director of Shakti Vahini, said.
The stress, according to him, should be on better policing. “Changes in legislation or enhancing the punishment is not the answer, but the proper implementation of current laws and making the system efficient is,” he added. In several of the cases, the accused were arrested and then released on bail, following which they went missing. They were declared proclaimed offenders while the trial was on. “There is a need to tighten the noose around persons who give surety for bails of the rape accused. Currently, there is a provision of fine but they should also be arrested if the rape accused go missing,” he added.
In a few other cases, the victims, often the sole witnesses of the rapes, turned hostile, leading to the acquittal of the accused. “Inadequate protection to witnesses and victims prompts them turn hostile. At times, no effort was made to involve relevant persons as witnesses in the trial. Evidence related to important events, which form a part and parcel of the crime, are routinely overlooked by the investigating officer. Sometimes medical examinations of victims are done too late, so that the evidence becomes irrelevant,” him said.
The NGO said that random rape cases were selected for the analysis and the observations of lower courts were taken into account. The study does not take into account whether any appeals were made to higher courts in these cases.