Multiple and repeat rape offenders out on Bengaluru streets on bail

Multiple and repeat rape offenders out on Bengaluru streets on bail

Bengaluru, March17: While the government and police are emphasising on curbing crimes against women, the recent incidents of repeat offenders involved in sexual crimes getting bail has raised serious concerns about the safety of women in the city.

The case of notorious serial rapist Shivarama Reddy, 31, who has more than ten cases of rape, molestation and robbery against him and was shot at and arrested by the police on Marathahalli Outer Rind Road, is a classic example of how repeated offenders are getting let off on bail. But who is to be blamed – the police or the judiciary?

Pramila Nesargi, a senior advocate and women rights activist, is very clear that there must be a difference in treating a first time offender and a second time offender.

“In my opinion, we are practising the law framed decades ago. Now, the scenario is completely different and an overhaul of criminal justice system is much needed. It is surprising that a rape offender gets away on bail even after committing several offences. It is important for the police and the prosecution that they should ensure that the court is informed that a person has history of committing offences, so that the chances of the accused getting bail will be very less.”

Further, she stressed that criminal laws should be amended as per the recommendations of Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System, headed by Justice V.S. Malimath.

The Committer had made several recommendations including that a suitable provision should be made requiring the officer investigation to complete investigation of cases of rape and other sexual offences on priority basis and requiring the court to dispose of such cases expeditious within a period of four months.

“It has been years that the committee proposed its recommendations but where is it implemented? It is high time that we bring in change in system and expedite trial of sexual offences. There should be a clear line to discriminate first time offender and the repeated offender,” Ms. Nesargi added.

Another advocate, Jayna Kothari, said the Karnataka High Court has set a guideline on granting bail to those accused in rape cases. “It clearly mentions that repeat offenders should not be granted bail in rape and sexual offence cases. The court may not be knowing the history of an accused and the accused would never tell he is repeat offender. Unfortunately, prosecution also treats many cases casually.It is the duty of the prosecution to bring it to the notice of the court and convince the court the impact on the society if an offender is granted bail.”

However, noted defence lawyer, Shankrappa V, argued that it’s the police who have to ensure that right evidences are provided to the court so that court rejects bail. “Once the police arrest an accused, they should fight to prove that he is the culprit and also provide proper information to the public prosecutor so that the court gets correct information about the accused. In most of the cases, the police will just handover the case details to the prosecutor and he also does not bother to go through them. Ultimately, such practices work in favour of the accused.”