Date: Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Bombay High Court was informed on Tuesday that work for three special victim-friendly courtrooms will begin from Wednesday at the city civil and sessions court.
A Division Bench of the Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation after the Supreme Court passed directions to all high courts to establish child-friendly and vulnerable witness courts.
Advocate Deepa Chavan, the amicus curiae, submitted a map prepared by the chief architect of the Public Works Department (PWD) to the Bench that displayed the infrastructure of three rooms that would be converted into special victim-friendly courts.
Ms. Chavan said that this finalised layout has separate entrances, a separate waiting room for the accused, with a speaker and a glass to protect the identity of the victim. There will be a bigger area for survivors with a common play area.
These court rooms are a model and can be modified as per the requirements of other courts in the districts, he said.
The court said, “As a model we accept it and have told the Advocate General Ashutosh Khumbhakoni to inform other PWD engineers about it. We do not need fancy courts but effective ones and it needs to have basic infrastructure to boost the morale of the victims”
Mr. Khumbhakoni has agreed and said that around ₹35 lakh has been budgetted for this. A separate budget has been allocated for victim-friendly courtrooms in Dindoshi, and the rooms in the sessions court will take one month to complete.
On February 9, the Supreme Court had passed an order that read, “We request and urge the Chief Justice of each High Court to seriously consider establishing child-friendly courts and vulnerable witness courts in each district. Inquiries under the Juvenile Justice Act and trials under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, trials for sexual offences under the Indian Penal Code require to be conducted with a high degree of sensitivity, care and empathy for the victim.”
Read The Hindu (source) article here.