Bombay HC Rejects Gang Rape Victim's Intervention Application In Appeals By Convicts

Bombay HC Rejects Gang Rape Victim

The division bench of Justices VK Tahilramani and Mridula Bhatkar have rejected an intervention application filed by X, a gangrape victim who lost her family members in the post- Godhra riots of 2002.

Bombay high Court is hearing appeals of eleven convicts in the case along with the CBI’s petition seeking death penalty for three of these convicts. They were sentenced to life by a special trial court in January 2008 for gang-raping a five-month pregnant VICTIM and murdering seven of her family members. The Supreme Court had transferred the trail that had already begun in Ahmedabad to Mumbai in August 2004 after she had expressed her apprehension regarding some foul play with the witnesses and the evidence.

In the previous hearing, the bench had suggested her lawyer Vijay Hiremath to consider filing an appeal instead of an intervention application. Harshad Ponda, who is appearing for the appellants in the case has argued that under Section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC) such an application can only be filed at the trial court level not the High Court.

Hiten Venegaonkar, CBI’s counsel in the case had submitted that if the victim’s application for intervention is to be allowed then some additional information that may have been omitted by the prosecution must be submitted before the court by the victim.

The bench had earlier held that an appeal can be filed by the victim only against the acquittal of five officials of the Gujarat Police and not against the life sentence awarded to the eleven convicts by the trial court (seeking a bigger punishment or enhancement of quantum). However, the victim may have been inclined to seek a harsher punishment against the accused which would explain the intervention application.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.