A welcome verdict: On Kathua rape case
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Kathua rape case
Mains level: Judiciary process
The trial court verdict finding three men guilty of the horrific
gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua
district last year must be seen as the victory of justice over communal
It is the answer that due process has given to sectarian interlopers who
sought to derail the investigation and trial by projecting the heinous crime
against a girl belonging to the nomadic Bakerwal tribe as a plot to
It is also a triumph for the justice system, as the Pathankot district
and sessions court has lived up to the faith reposed in it by the Supreme
Court last year, when the case was transferred from J and K to Punjab for a
Highlighting the judgments
The apex court had taken note of the hindrances to a fair trial in the
jurisdictional court, especially the hostile atmosphere against the
The formation of a group called the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of those
arrested and the role played by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party,
including two Ministers in the then J and K government, had whipped up
It is commendable that the Crime Branch of the J and K Police and the
prosecutors have brought home the guilt of Sanji Ram, Parvesh Kumar and
Deepak Khajuria, who have been sentenced to life for murder and 25 years in
prison for gang-rape.
Further, the role of some police personnel in trying to destroy evidence
has also been exposed.
Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Special Police Officer Surender Verma and
Head Constable Tilak Raj get a five-year term for washing some blood-stained
clothes, concealing the victim’s necklace and hair band, and misleading the
investigating police team about the place of occurrence of the crime.
About the investigation process
The investigation had been fairly quick, and the charge-sheet was
prepared in two months.
The trial lasted a year, and the verdict has been delivered within 17
months of the occurrence.
Appeals by the convicts are only to be expected, and the Judge Tejwinder
Singh’s approach and the manner in which he appreciated the evidence would
be determined by higher courts.
Even the prosecution may appeal against the acquittal of one of the
accused, whose alibi that he was appearing in an examination in Uttar
Pradesh at the time of the incident has been accepted.
Some may question the verdict for not imposing the death penalty in what
was presented as a crime aimed at dislodging the Bakerwal community from the
However, it is a needless cavil, as what matters is that criminal
liability has been established and a life term, which ought to mean the
remainder of the convicts’ natural life, has been awarded.
The larger takeaway is that efficient investigation, diligent
prosecution and judicial sensitivity can ensure speedy justice in all cases,
and more particularly in cases of ghastly crimes that cause widespread
revulsion and outrage. It is indeed a judgment that will inspire confidence
in the justice system.
Q.1) Which of the following provisions regarding national emergency was
not enacted by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act? (a) Substituted the word 'armed rebelllion' for 'internal disturbance'.
(b) Enabled the President to limit the operation of the emergency to a specified
part of India.
(c) Proclamation by the President can be made only on a written recommendation
from the cabinet.
(d) Periodic approval for further continuation by both the Houses of the
Parliament by special majority.
Q.1) The Kathua case represents a triumph of justice over communal propaganda.