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New Delhi - India's chief justice has ordered judges to set up special courts to fast-track trials for sex crimes after the outcry over a brutal gang-rape and murder, saying the current backlog may have fuelled a rise in attacks.
In a letter to chief justices of the high courts in each of India's states, Altamas Kabir said the horrific December 16 attack in New Delhi had “shaken the conscience of the nation”, adding that rape “afflicts the very soul of a victim”.
“A large number of cases are pending in various high courts and trial courts in respect of offences against women and in recent times there is a marked increase of such cases,” Kabir wrote in a letter dated January 5 which was obtained by AFP on Monday.
“Delay may be one of the factors contributing to rise in the number of cases, inasmuch as, on account of such delay, deterrence pales into insignificance.”
Kabir said “steps should be taken to immediately set up fast-track courts to deal exclusively with cases of offences against women”, and asked the high courts to identify the number of judges needed to run the courts.
The brutal December 16 attack on a 23-year-old medical student, who subsequently died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital, has prompted pledges from the government to speed up a notoriously sluggish justice system.
Five adults appeared in court for the first time on Monday charged with murder and rape over the attack. It usually takes months for legal proceedings to begin for such crimes. - AFP