Custodial rape: Need to review evidence law

Two Sub-Inspectors of Police at Tilak Marg, New Delhi, accused in a custodial rape case have been acquitted by a sessions court along with the employer of the accused, on the grounds that there was “inadequate evidence” of rape. In a case where the victim was in custody while the crime took place, where she is fighting the very establishment that tortured her, and struggled for two years to get her complaint registered, what did the court expect?

The sessions court has erred in acquitting the accused. The manner in which rape cases are conducted and the evidence is considered need to be re-examined — be it the case of custodial rape in question or mass rapes as in Gujarat, where women’s bodies were butchered and burnt in order to destroy the evidence of rape.

Only then, we can hope to stem the tide of the increasing crimes against women. Otherwise, the conviction rate in cases of rape and sexual assault shall remain abysmally low, and the guilty will continue to roam free.

Vani Subramanian & Sadhna Arya, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, New Delhi




Kar seva: Here and there

There was an unprecedented response from lakhs of devotees to the kar seva offered at the holy sarovar at Sri Harmander Sahib, Amritsar. The devotion and enthusiasm were unmatched and helped in achieving the target in record time, that too, without the help of modern machines.

While the kar seva in Amritsar has been a stupendous success, we have been watching the sad spectacle of shramdan, in the name of kar seva, in Chandigarh. Every year, though shram daan is performed in the Sukhna lake, it has not been able to achieve any target except presentation of awards to some VVIPs and socialites of the City Beautiful.

Had this seva been undertaken with some devotion and sincerity, the task would have been completed long back. It is time the Chandigarh Administration handed over this work to some respected saint. I am sure he would be able to achieve the target in a month what the Chandigarh Administration has not been able to achieve in years.

H.S. DHALIWAL, Chandigarh

US funds for Pak

The United States is pumping huge funds to Pakistan. This should cause much irritation in India. We know that Pakistan will purchase more and more arms with these funds and pose greater threat to our country. We know this is the purchase price the US is paying to Pakistan for the military use of its air bases to be stronger in this region for greater control on Afghanistan.

Perhaps the US is willfully ignoring the fact that a good part of these funds will go to strengthen the hands of terrorists striking India in Kashmir and the US in Iraq. The US should have second thoughts over this dangerous step in its own interest.

Radheshyam Gupta, New Delhi

Is India shining?

Is the country really shining as the NDA have us believe? The leaders constantly reiterate their achievements, but has the condition of the middle class improved? Almost every middle class worker is under the burden of some loan. The affluent sections need not worry because they have enough to spare. Those in the low income group are lucky because they avail themselves of the various schemes and benefits provided by the government.

The government tried to woo the middle class by announcing DA. But there are thousands of families who are just hand to mouth. Crores of rupees are spent on yatras, advertisements, banners etc. Every educated citizen knows the accomplishments of each leader. Why, then, yell and gabble for them? Or is it the trepidation of losing the elections? Now the ball is in the voters’ court who will decide the future of the candidates in all the political parties.

Hitesh Jhangiani, New Delhi

Helping the poor

Reference the report “Singhvi for affordable justice to the poor” (March 29). Justice G.S. Singhvi is right that “earning money cannot be the only objective of the legal fraternity” and that lawyers should ”initiate a new battle for the rights of the poor like their counterparts had done in the pre-Independence days.”

But unfortunately, self, prestige and power, at present are the only aims of the jurists, whether on the bench or in the bar. There are no role models for the new entrants to the profession. Even extremely affluent and politically powerful lawyers feel no compunction in accepting the briefs of the dreaded criminals. The legal fraternity should try to emulate men like P.C. Vallah who accepted briefs of only those clients who had facts, law and ethics on their side.

The Bar Councils should expunge the names of those lawyers from their rolls who use money at Bar Association elections. The legal practitioners should shun touts and enrich their personalities through erudition and quest for excellence. Veer Savarkar, the revolutionary Barrister, needs to be regarded as an icon by all who are professional advocates or merely dabble in laws.


The City of Multan

Many newspapers have described Multan as the hottest city, full of burial grounds. I differ. Multan is also a beautiful place, according to the great Urdu poet “ Zuak”. He wrote during 1820 AD:

“Zahid sharaab pinay se kafir hua mein kiyon

Kaya dehd chullu paani mein imaan beh giya

Tha “Zauk” pehle Dilli mein Punjab ka sa husn

Par voh paani kehte hein Multan beh giya”



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