SC ordered trial court to deliver verdict in Kandhamal nun rape case


SLP (CRL.) No.1103 of 2012) Sister Mina Lalita Baruwa V/s S State of Orissa and others. HRLN has filed a Special Leave Petition which challenged the final order judgment of the Orissa High Court dated 5.1.12 in CRL.M.C No. 1746 of 2011 wherein the Hon'rble High Court dismissed the Petition filed by the Petitioner. On 25.8.08 at the height of the communal riots in Kandhamaal Orissathat had occurred in the tribal-dominated district in the aftermath of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati at the Jalespata Ashram on 23.8.08., the Petitoner and others were attacked by a mob that molested the petitioner, assaulted her & was gang raped and paraded semi-naked through the streets two days in Kandhamal. During that time she did not knew the names of her assailants or of the persons who raped her, but she was able to identify them. The court had in February last year(2012) stayed the trial on a plea by the Petitioner, who challenged the prosecution's failure to cross-examine a judicial magistrate, failure of which she claimed helped the accused persons. As per the victim, the magistrate had withheld some of the accusatory statements she had made against one of the accused person when he took the witness box. A bench led by Justice S S Nijjar allowed the nun's appeal, argued through senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, and set aside the orders passed by the trial court and the high court. The lower courts had held that she had no right to seek recalling a witness for cross-examination and that she must have faith in justice delivery system. The bench reminded the courts that "in criminal jurisprudence, while the offence is against the society, it is the unfortunate victim who is the actual sufferer and therefore, it is imperative for the State and the prosecution to ensure that no stone is left unturned. It is also the equal, if not more, the duty and responsibility of the Court to be alive and alert in the course of trial of a criminal case and ensure that the evidence recorded in accordance with law reflect every bit of vital information placed before it." "The whole scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure envisages foolproof system in dealing with a crime alleged against the accused and thereby ensure that the guilty does not escape and innocent is not punished" it noted. The Hon'rble Supreme court has given its judgment and as directed to the trial court to recall the magistrate for cross-examination once again and said that the trial court should conclude the proceedings in accordance with law expeditiously, preferably within three months from the date of this order. Contact Person: Amiy Shukla