A new legislation has been cleared by the Federal Cabinet that provides for rape victims to be tried by women judges, witnesses provided a protection program, and victims’ right to appeal against acquittal of the accused, and acceptance of video as evidence. Defense lawyers typically badger rape victims with impunity asking very embarrassing questions about sex and the act in the company of several men and intimidating them.
This proposal is to amend the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure that all rape questions are only tried by woman judges and allows the presence of her lawyer during depositions. Created on the recommendation of the Law Commission of India, the Bill grants the victims the right to appeal against acquittal and therefore not have to depend on the state to appeal. Most importantly, the new process allows all proceedings, depositions, interrogation, and investigation of the accused and witnessed to be videotaped so they may not be changed later. Currently, electronic evidence is treated as circumstantial and cannot be used as corroborating material.
This proposal will revolutionize the process of disposing rape cases which are growing rapidly because perpetrators are able to get away with heinous crimes because of delays in justice. Apart from these measures, it would have been very useful if the new bill had included means to DNA map criminals and also provided for a standard set of tests to be performed on the victims so DNA matches could be used to prove crimes. Creating a crime database with digital DNA, photo records, and video identification should the first step to identifying compulsive criminals.