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SC Sends Man Back to Jail for Raping Deaf and Dumb Girl, asks HCs to Create Centres for Vulnerable Witnesses

The order came as the apex court adjudicated an appeal by the Maharashtra government against acquittal of a man of rape charge.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 29, 2017, 12:06 AM IST
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SC Sends Man Back to Jail for Raping Deaf and Dumb Girl, asks HCs to Create Centres for Vulnerable Witnesses
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered for creating special centres for vulnerable witnesses in all the states to ascertain that they get suitable environment to testify.

The order came as the apex court adjudicated an appeal by the Maharashtra government against acquittal of a man of rape charge.

The accused was acquitted primarily because the victim was deaf and dumb, and also mentally infirm. She could not take the witness box to depose and hence, the accused got acquitted

Setting aside the acquittal order, a bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and Uday U Lalit sentenced the accused to jail for seven years on the basis of sufficient circumstantial evidence, and also decided to bring about the necessary improvements in the trial processes concerning such vulnerable witnesses

The bench asked all the high courts to undertake the task and see to it that preferably, all the districts have such centres.

To begin with, the bench has directed the 24 high courts to set up at least two such centres within their jurisdiction in the next three months.

“Setting up of one centre for vulnerable witnesses may be perhaps required almost in every district in the country. All the High Courts may take appropriate steps in this direction in due course in phases,” stated the order.

Advocate Shirin Khajuria, who was appointed as the amicus curiae to assist the court, and Maharashtra government’s chief standing counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar cited a 2004 SC ruling that talked about certain safeguards during deposition of a child witness in a sexual assault case.

The lawyers also pointed out that the Delhi High Court has taken the lead by issuing necessary instructions on creation of centres for vulnerable witnesses.

The bench then said that all high courts should now ensure special centres for vulnerable witnesses so that they could depose in conducive environment and justice does not suffer because of the system's inability to give them appropriate opportunities.
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