At a time when the entire nation is fighting against the evils of perversion and crimes against women, the state of Madhya Pradesh under the Shivraj Singh Chouhan regime has shown the way forward. In a historic verdict, the Madhya Pradesh police, government and judiciary have set new parameters as far as speedy access to justice is concerned.
In an extraordinary trial, an Indore court on Saturday sentenced a 26 year old man to death for committing the rape and murder of a three months old girl. The gruesome criminal has been brought to justice within 22 days of committing the heinous crime. Such speedy access to justice has been unheard of especially when the courts are replete with huge arrears of cases pending before them. The Chouhan government’s promptness played an important role.
The convict, Naveen Gadke, was awarded death penalty by the Additional Sessions Judge Varsha Sharma under section 376 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with punishment for causing death or resulting in permanent vegetative state of the victim. He was also charged under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was also found guilty under the POCSO Act which has been recently amended to make the rape of a child below 12 years of age punishable with death.
The rape and murder were committed in a horrifying manner by the accused. The accused had abducted the girl from the spot where she was sleeping with her parents during the midnight hours of April 20th. Thereafter, he took the infant to the basement of a commercial building and committed rape in the most inhumane and brutal manner. The building was 50 metres away from the place where the girl’s family was sleeping. Gadke banged the girl’s head against the ground in order to kill her. The infant’s body was found on April 20th and Gadke was arrested on the same day. Given the gravity of the crime and its impact on the conscience of the the society, the accused was bound to be awarded death penalty. In her 51 page verdict, Judge Varsha Sharma stated, “Given the heinous and gruesome manner in which the cruel act was done by the accused, this person is like a gangrene disease in the society. Like the doctor cuts off gangrene-affected parts of a patient’s body through operation, in the same way it is also necessary to keep such criminal away to protect the society from them. Such person is deadly for the society.”
Police investigations were prompt and impeccable. Merely within seven days of the commission of crime, the police filed the charge sheet before the court on April 27. The court also proceeded without any delays. Charges were framed on April 28 and the trial started on a daily basis on May 1st itself. The protection officer Akram Sheikh deserves all the credit for extraordinary display of his skills and knowledge in order to ensure justice for the victim. 29 prosecution witnesses were examined in the course of the trial and the guilt of the accused was firmly established which led to the imposition of capital punishment upon the accused.
This trial is a ray of hope, it makes one believe that speedy justice is not an illusionary goal. Those who indulge in such heinous and shockingly inhumane crimes can be brought to justice and that too within a short span of time. The way the Chouhan government handled this should serve as an example and a benchmark that police forces and governments of other states should also try to emulate. Such judgments have the effect of protecting the society from corrupt and depraved minds and at the same time creating a deterrent effect in such perverted minds. It is not only the solution, but the duty of the state to make speedy investigations into such cases in order to deter those who even think of committing crimes against women. The only way of fighting the lascivious minds which have dangerously become a part of the society is to pin them down with the fear of law. These judgments would go a long way in threatening the depraved minds to give up their ulterior intentions and fall in line with civilized norms or otherwise face the wrath of law. The Madhya Pradesh government led by Chouhan must be commended for leading by example.