Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Shakti Mills verdict

On 4/4/2014 Bombay City Civil Sessions Court Principal Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi created history by her landmark judgment that sentenced Vijay Jadhav (18), Mohammad Qasim Shaikh (20) and Salim Ansari to death under Section 376E of Indian Penal Code for the rape of a photojournalist for being repeat offenders in rape cases.
There were two Shakti Mills gang rape cases. One was of a telephone operator raped on 31/7/2013. Second was of a photojournalist raped on 22/8/2013. The photojournalist was the first to go to police. Later the telephone operator was tracked and she came forward to file a complaint. The three were offenders in both cases. There were other rapists. Siraj Rehman got life sentence for rape of photojournalist. Juveniles in both cases escaped punishment. There were other cases of rape where no FIRs were filed.
The gang rape of the photojournalist at Shakti Mills where she had gone to photograph with a male colleague had led to public outcry. Shakti Mills is close to Mahalaxmi Railway Station and the gang rape had taken place between 6.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Male colleague was tied by rapists. The rapists had photographed rapes and threatened the victim to make video clips public.
Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi resisted all attempts by defence lawyers who through their dirty tricks tried to delay the verdict. When defence lawyers said they wanted time to argue on the quantum of punishment and a senior counsel was willing to argue for the accused she said “Making applications over applications at such a crucial time of the trial makes it clear that the defence is resorting to delay tactics.” The lawyers moved an application to withdraw from the case. She went ahead with the judgment. Special Public Prosecutor said “Derailing trial is an ugly tactic and the defence lawyers today crossed every limits (sic).”
Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi rejected defence argument for leniency based on economic background of criminals. She said “Conviction cannot be dependent on the social and the economic status of the victim or the accused and the race, caste, creed of the accused cannot be taken into consideration.” She pointed out the criminals had boasted of committing rapes in the past.
IPC 376E was a consequence of legislative reform that followed the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey on 16/12/2012. The photojournalist case is the first one in which repeat rapists got death sentence.
The country needs more judges like Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi and lawyers like Ujjwal Nikam. It does not need people who call themselves human rights or women’s rights activists but are in effect enemies of rape or murder victims. The country does not need judges who are soft on rapists, murderers and other criminals. Too bad Supreme Court judges have struck down mercy petition rejections by presidents and allowed murderers to live. President Pranab Mukherjee should issue an ordinance striking down those Supreme Court judgments and reinstate death penalties.
This is Lok Sabha election time. Parties should declare they will nullify the judgment that restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases and make death penalty obligatory in cases of murder, attempted murder, repeated rape, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping, acid throwing and such crimes.
We need to repeal Juvenile Justice Act. The age of juvenile should be lowered to below 16 and anyone who commits a crime like murder, rape, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping, acid throwing should be tried as an adult whatever be the age.
Bombay is short of accommodation. Shakti Mills should be auctioned to the highest bidder to build a residential complex.

Updated: April 10, 2014 — 7:38 am

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  1. Nice post, Thanks a lot to share with us. Searching for jobs Ind Govt Jobs.

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