Gang rape victim waiting for justice since 16 years: petition

Cuttack: Just hours after inaugurating a special fast-track court to exclusively deal with crimes against women, acting Chief Justice of Odisha High Court P K Mohanty on Monday came across a writ petition alleging that a session's court was sitting over a gang rape case for the last 16 years.

Expressing concern over the matter, the Chief Justice asked the government counsel to get instructions on it and directed the court registry to list the matter for further hearing next week.

Seeking appropriate instructions from the state government for speedy trial of the case, social activist and advocate Prabir Kumar Das brought to the notice of the High Court that a case under Section 376 [2(g)] (gang rape) of IPC was registered in Khurda police station in June, 1996.

"Although, four persons were arrested in this case and they were subsequently released on bail after charge sheets were filed, the trial of the case in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of the district is yet to commence," said the petitioner advocate.

Claiming that such inordinate delay in disposal of the case damages public confidence on the judiciary, the social activist said sitting over the case for 16 years is no less than denial of justice to the victim.

According to the petition, a 20-year-old girl, working in an NGO, was raped by four youths near Bandhapokhari in Khurda district late in the evening of June 16, 1996. While the girl was on her way to a nearby bus stand with her brother and another acquaintance to return to Bhubaneswar, the youths intercepted them at a deserted place.

Brandishing lethal weapons, the youths chased the girl's brother and their acquaintance, took her to a nearby pond and raped her, the petition said.

Registering a case under gang rape, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation and common intention, the local police soon arrested two accused while the remaining two surrendered later.