One Junior is enough to assist the Defence Counsel in In-Camera rape case trials; Bombay HC [Read the Judgment]

One Junior is enough to assist the Defence Counsel in In-Camera rape case trials; Bombay HC [Read the Judgment]

Bombay High Court has ruled that so many advocates cannot be permitted to remain present in court in an in-camera rape trial. Court has taken a view that a single junior advocate is enough to assist the defence counsel.

A single Bench of Justice A.I.S. Cheema at Aurangabad was hearing a revision petition in Dr. Suyog v. State of Maharashtra (Crl Rev Appl no.48/2014) filed by an Accused against an Interim Order passed by Additional Sessions Judge, Aurangabad in which he is being tried for the offences punishable under Section 376, 328, 354 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

In her contentions the Victim of Rape has alleged that the Defence Counsel filed Vakalatnama taking signatures of more than12 Advocates so that they could remain present in the Court while her evidence was being recorded In-­camera.

She alleged that such a practice allowing so many lawyers to remain present in the court room while an in camera proceeding is going on is highly immoral, unethical condemnable and needs to be deprecated. She further contented that the accused wanted to protract trial and is resorting to tactics to humiliate, so as to refrain her from deposing against him. She also claimed  that  unhealthy ambiance was created in Court causing great agony and hardship to her.

Under the provisions of  Section 327(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 it is provided that the inquiry into or trial of rape or offence under Section 376, Section 376 A to 376 E of the Indian Penal Code shall be conducted In-­Camera.

Bench has ruled that so many advocates even though they have signed the vakalathnama shall not be permitted to be present in the court room while an in-camera proceeding is going on. It further held that evidence can be recorded in presence of both sides, permitting the counsel conducting the cross examination to   have assistance of say, one junior Advocate only of his choice.

The Bench asking the Sessions Judge to keep in mind the purpose and object of the law under Section 327(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure has observed as follows;

“The purpose and object of the law needs to be kept needs to be kept in view and it is necessary for   the   trial Court to ensure that In-­Camera proceeding takes place in its letter and spirit. When it is In­-Camera proceeding, it is duty of Court to ensure that Prosecutrix is given atmosphere which will encourage her to speak about the incident without being put to avoidable embarrassment. The evidence can be recorded in presence of both sides, permitting the counsel conducting the cross examination to   have assistance of say, one junior Advocate only of his choice”.

Bench also directed the trial Court keep in view  specific requirement of law under Section 309 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973, which requires that enquiry or trial relating to offence under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code shall, as far as possible be completed within period of two months from the date of filing of the charge­sheet.

Court rejected the Revision Application awarding costs of Rs.3000/­  to the Victim

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