The trial of the five men, not including the 17-year-old juvenile, who is expected to be tried by a juvenile court, accused in the Delhi rape case got underway on Monday.
The trial of the five men accused of raping and beating a 23-year-old Delhi girl, who later succumbed to her injuries, is being held in a special fast-track court, which is meant to expedite the case that has incensed the Indian public, who have called for the death penalties in this case and greater measures to ensure the safety of women in the country.
The trial, which got underway at the Saket court complex in the Indian capital, Delhi, was delayed for nearly an hour as defense lawyers demanded that the media be let in on the trial. Their demand was rejected by the court. After receiving the charge sheet, the presiding judge adjourned the trial until Thursday, when opening arguments will be heard.
While both victims of the Dec. 16 incident weren’t named for legal reasons, the accused were identified as Ram Singh and his brother,, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur. They were taken into custody after public outcry and have been in custody ever since, with the charges against them being of kidnapping, gang-rape and manslaughter.
Investigators had initially said that there was damning forensic evidence and corroborative evidence against the accused, but according to the defense lawyers, who were talking to the Reuters news agency, the evidence has been fabricated and they have also claimed that confessions were beaten out of two of the accused, for whom they will be submitting non-guilty pleas. The lawyers also said that they did not expect to get justice for their clients.
Besides the case itself, the specially formed fast track courts have also come under discussion, as cases normally tried in Indian courts are known to take anywhere up to a decade. The fast track courts are meant to ensure speedy justice. Speaking to the Associated Press, women’s rights activist and director of the Centre for Social Research, Ranjana Kumari said, "We need a system in which women can get justice quickly. Otherwise, in the normal course of things, it can take 10 or 12 or 14 years for cases to be taken up by the court. That is tantamount to denying justice to the victim."