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Legal experts describe the Bihar court’s judgment as speediest trial of rape cases in India. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Patna: A local court in Bihar has set a new example for the country by concluding a rape case trial and also awarding punishment to the accused in just one working day at a time when the pendency of cases in the courts remains a matter of serious concern.

Juvenile court judge Justice Manvendra Mishra heard the case and convicted and sentenced a juvenile offender in a single working day in Nalanda district on Saturday. The court awarded three-year jail sentenced in a remand to the 14-year-old offender whose act was described as “animal instinct”.

“Although the convict is only 14-year-old, he committed the crime in a planned manner. Such a person needs to be punished,” the court observed. The court not only took the testimony of all the five witnesses, recorded the statements of 10 witnesses and cross-examined them but also arguments from both sides were presented on a single day.

According to court officials, the accused had lured a four-year-old girl by offering her toffees and committed the crime at a lonely place. The accused fled the scene when the victim’s relative raised an alarm after watching the crime. The accused was later caught by the local villagers and handed over to the police. The incident took place on October 8 this year.

Last month, in a similar move a suspect in the rape case of a minor girl was tried, heard, convicted and sentenced to a life imprisonment by a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Bihar’s another Araria district in a single working day. The judge Shashikant Ray not only delivered the judgement within a record time but also directed the convict to pay a compensation of Rs700,000 for the victim’s rehabilitation.

Legal experts describe the Bihar court’s judgment as speediest trial of rape cases in India. This record was earlier held by a court in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh which wrapped up the rape trial in only three working days in August 2018.

Alarming rise in incidents of rape has become a matter of concern in Bihar. According to a report of the state police department, a total of 8,778 incidents have been reported in Bihar since 2015, indicating the gravity of the situation. This year alone, as many as 1,168 incidents of rape have been reported till September, which means on an average 130 cases are taking place every month.

Rape cases refuse to come down despite the Indian government approving the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12 following nationwide outrage in the wake of a series of cases. The law came into force in 2018.

According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), a total of 28,046 incidents of rape and overall 371,503 cases of crime against women were reported in India in 2020. Among states and Union Territo-ries, the maximum 5,310 rape cases were lodged in Rajasthan followed by Uttar Pradesh (2,769), Madhya Pradesh (2,339), Maharashtra (2,061) and Assam (1,657) while te national capital Delhi logged 997 such cases in 2020, the data showed.