In a record 302 days, justice has been delivered in a case involving the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district. What the police and the principal sessions court judge presiding over the case have done serves as a lesson for the entire country. One of the cardinal aspects of dispensing justice involves delivering a verdict in time. It must be preceded by thorough investigations and building a watertight case against the accused.
The spirit of justice also demands that the man in the dock gets a fair trial. If these basic criteria are violated, people will lose faith in the two most important pillars of democracy: the police and judiciary.
In India, trials of rape cases drag on for years. In most instances, the perpetrators are let off for want of evidence, and the victim is subjected to a lifetime of ignominy and social stigma. The police, apart from being insensitive to the rape victim, shows laxity in investigations. The medical test, crucial in such cases, is arbitrary and follows an archaic method. It manages to further humiliate the victim. When rape is mostly construed as the woman’s fault, and ‘She deserved it’ is the general refrain, the system gangs up against the woman.
All these may change, thanks to a 23-year-old girl. Laws will be stricter and more comprehensive. Rape cases will be given utmost priority, and there will be fast-track courts to expedite justice.
But the Kerala police and Justice B Sudheendrakumar have shown that even within the current framework, justice can come super fast, without compromising the principles of jurisprudence. All that matters is something very elementary: will power.