What is the rights of a rape survivor at Court ? | Forum

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LetsHelpIndia May 14 '14, 04:56

Here is a list of the rights a sexual assault survivor has in an Indian court.

In the courtroom, a rape survivor has the right to:

  • Anonymity which can be ensured by taking the survivor's statement in-camera. No member of the general public or media can be present, unless the presiding judge thinks fit, on an application by either of the parties, and allows any person to gain access to the proceedings (Amendment of Section 327, CrPC).

  • Access to a lawyer and/or free legal aid which is available through the Legal Aid Authority of each state. A representative of the Legal Aid Authority can be found at the District Court as well as at the Magistrate Court (Delhi Domestic Working Women's Forum Vs. Union Of India And Others, 1994).

  • Appoint an advocate who can keep her informed of when the accused applies for bail, when chargesheet is filed, when the first hearing is to be held and so on. This advocate can go to the court regularly on the survivor's behalf (Delhi Domestic Working Women's Forum Vs. Union Of India And Others, 1994).

  • A rape trial that is completed within 2 months of the date of filing the chargesheet.

  • Not be asked questions during cross-examination that are related to her character or previous sexual experience (Amendment of Section 146, Indian Evidence Act).

  • Compensation in the form of financial assistance and support services such as counselling, shelter, medical and legal aid, training and education. Financial compensation may go above Rs 1.40 lakh (Section 5.1.17, Umbrella Scheme on the Protection and Empowerment of Women, 2013).

  • Compensation which may also be given by the accused as a fine if he is convicted (Section 357, CrPC).

  • If the survivor is below 18:

    • The case must be heard in a special court (Section 28(1), Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act).

    • This special court must complete the trial within a year of the date of taking cognizance of the offence (Section 35(2), Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act, 2012).

    • All questions must be asked in a sensitive and easy-to understand manner. For this, the defence lawyer (lawyer of the accused) should submit in writing the questions he or she wants the survivor to be asked (Sakshi Vs. Union of India).

    • She can be accompanied by family or friends (if they are not witnesses) while giving her statement. She is also allowed to take breaks as and when required (Sakshi Vs. Union of India, 2004).

How the court can help to ensure an FIR is filed

  • If the survivor’s complaint is not recorded at the police station, she can complain to the Superintendent of Police Magistrate Court, which can order the police to file the FIR (Section 154(3) CrPC).

* In consultation with Aparna Bhat, lawyer, Supreme Court of India. Bhat conceived and helped start 'Rape Crisis', a 24/7 support system for survivors of rape and sexual assault in Delhi.

The Forum post is edited by LetsHelpIndia May 14 '14, 05:01
Amit Kant Arora
Amit Kant Arora May 23 '14, 08:02
Most of the rapes which are reported are false ones and most of the genuine rape cases go unreported and unpenalised. Judicial process should be reformed to reinstate faith of common man in law & order. The process of indicting and later implicating an accused is too tortuous, protracted and complicated that it is almost impossible for a common man to understand it. So he does what he/she is told to do by the lawyers and judges who sometimes side with the accused. Yes, our judiciary, especially the lower judiciary, contrary to popular perception, is very corrupt and the judicial system has been kept unnecessarily complicated. We also need Police reforms urgently. Mr. Khan talk about corruption in judiciary as well and the need for police and judicial reforms. At present, if someone commits a murder of a poor man or rape of a poor woman, 99 rapists/murderes of a 100 shall not be implicated or convicted. And the 1% who shall be implicated/convicted, shall be convicted after a period of 5-20 years. For all practical purposes, there is no law and order in this country for the average common man.

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