Category of cases where the trial is required to be fast tracked.

State of Karnataka v. Shivanna, (2014) 8 SCC 913

Directions issued bySupreme Court in form of mandamus to all police stations’

“2. While we propose to consider this matter on merits after service of notice to the respondent-accused, we feel acutely concerned as to why the Union of India should not take initiative and steps to evolve a procedure for fast-track justice to be adopted by the investigating agencies and the Fast Track Courts by proposing amendments to CrPC for speedy justice to the victim.

3. Fast Track Courts no doubt are being constituted for expeditious disposal of cases involving the charge of rape at the trial stage, but we are perturbed and anguished to notice that although there are Fast Track Courts for disposal of such cases, we do not yet have a fast-track procedure for dealing with cases of rape and gang rape lodged under Section 376 IPC with the result that such heinous offences are repeated incessantly.

4. We are of the considered opinion that there is pressing need to introduce drastic amendments to CrPC in the nature of fast-track procedure for Fast Track Courts and here is an occasion where we deem it just and appropriate to issue notice and call upon the Union of India to file its response as to why it should not take initiative and sincere steps for introducing necessary amendment into CrPC, 1973 involving trial for the charge of “rape” by directing that all the witnesses who are examined in relation to the offence and incident of rape cases should be straightaway produced before the Magistrate for recording their statement to be kept in sealed cover and thereafter the same be treated as evidence at the stage of trial which may be put to test by subjecting it to cross-examination.

We are further of the view that the statement of victim should as far as possible be recorded before the Judicial Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC skipping over the recording of statement by the police under Section 161 CrPC which in any case is inadmissible except for contradiction so that the statement of the accused thereafter be recorded under Section 313 CrPC. The accused then can be committed to the appropriate court for trial whereby the trial court can straightaway allow cross-examination of the witnesses whose evidence were recorded earlier before the Magistrate.

5. What we wish to emphasise is that the recording of evidence of the victim and other witnesses multiple times ought to be put to an end which is the primary reason for delay of the trial. We are of the view that if the evidence is recorded for the first time itself before the Judicial Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC and the same be kept in sealed cover to be treated as deposition of the witnesses and hence admissible at the stage of trial with liberty to the defence to cross-examine them with further liberty to the accused to lead his defence witnesses and other evidence with a right to cross-examination by the prosecution, it can surely cut short and curtail the protracted trial if it is introduced at least for trial of rape cases which is bound to reduce the duration of trial and thus offer a speedy remedy by way of a fast-track procedure to the Fast Track Court to resort to.

6. Considering the consistent recurrence of the heinous crime of rape and gang rape all over the country including the metropolitan cities, we are of the view that it is high time such measures of reform in CrPC be introduced after due deliberation and debate by the legal fraternity as also all concerned. We, therefore, deem it just and appropriate to issue notice to the Union of India through the Attorney General which the counsel for the petitioner is directed to serve by way of dasti summons. The matter be posted again on 3-9-2013 for further consideration.”

19. In continuation of the above, further order dated 25th April, 2014 [(2014) 8 SCC 913] was passed as follows :

“10.1. Upon receipt of information relating to the commission of offence of rape, the investigating officer shall make immediate steps to take the victim to any Metropolitan/preferably Judicial Magistrate for the purpose of recording her statement under Section 164 CrPC. A copy of the statement under Section 164 CrPC should be handed over to the investigating officer immediately with a specific direction that the contents of such statement under Section 164 CrPC should not be disclosed to any person till charge- sheet/report under Section 173 CrPC is filed.

10.2. The investigating officer shall as far as possible take the victim to the nearest Lady Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate.

10.3. The investigating officer shall record specifically the date and the time at which he learnt about the commission of the offence of rape and the date and time at which he took the victim to the Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate as aforesaid.

10.4. If there is any delay exceeding 24 hours in taking the victim to the Magistrate, the investigating officer should record the reasons for the same in the case diary and hand over a copy of the same to the Magistrate.

10.5. Medical examination of the victim: Section 164-A CrPC inserted by Act 25 of 2005 in CrPC imposes an obligation on the part of investigating officer to get the victim of the rape immediately medically examined. A copy of the report of such medical examination should be immediately handed over to the Magistrate who records the statement of the victim under Section 164 CrPC.

11. A copy of this order thus be circulated to all the Directors General of Police of all the States/Commissioners of Police in Metropolitan cities/Commissioners of Police of Union Territories who are then directed to send a copy of this order to all the Police Stations-in-Charge in their States/Union Territories for its compliance in cases which are registered on or after the receipt of a copy of these directions. Necessary instructions by the DGPs/Commissioners of Police be also issued to all the Police Stations-in-Charge by the DGPs/Commissioners of Police incorporating the directions issued by us and recorded hereinbefore.”