Afast-track court’s conviction of the accused in the Nikita Tomar murder case is a welcome development. The 21-year-old was shot near her college in Ballabgarh, Haryana, in October last year for refusing the advances of one of the accused, said to have political links and who was putting pressure on her to marry him. Haryana may have seen a push for education and the state’s development has been facilitated by its proximity to the national capital, but such incidents near educational institutions can only serve to deter its cause. That said, for a state that witnesses crime against women with regularity, raising question marks over its claim of empowering them, quick and decisive justice to the family of the deceased may well offer some hope to countless other victims.
Delayed justice has become the norm across the country mainly because of our broken down judicial system on account of various factors like pendency of cases, low conviction rate and frequent adjournments. While the system offers the right to appeal all the way up to the highest court of the land, it is important for the lower rungs of the judicial system to set the ball rolling by functioning efficiently and effectively. The intention to fast-track cases of heinous crime is a welcome show of intent. The ruling came within five months of the horrific incident, and despite the hurdles created by the pandemic in the normal judicial processes.
Efforts have been made to give special courts a clear mandate to deal with specific categories of crimes within a stipulated period to reduce the backlog with provisions for funding. The courts also have their constraints because of inadequate infrastructure, increased workload and lack of adequate staff strength. But attention needs to be paid to prompt redress of grievances. Public faith in the judicial system ultimately depends on its ability to deliver justice.