Sessions courts designated to handle rape cases

Published May 8, 2021
President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday designated all sessions courts throughout the country as special courts to proceed against accused facing rape charges. — Dawn/File
President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday designated all sessions courts throughout the country as special courts to proceed against accused facing rape charges. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday designated all sessions courts throughout the country as special courts to proceed against accused facing rape charges.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, “in pursuance of the powers conferred by sub-section 3 of section 3 of the Anti-Rape (Investigation & Trial) Ordinance, 2020, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in consultation with the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan has been pleased to designate all courts of sessions judges throughout Pakistan as Special Courts under the Ordinance”.

According to a statement issued by the law ministry, the special courts have been notified for speedy trial of rape cases.

The development is a stepping stone towards provision of speedy and expeditious justice for victims of rape and sexual offences in a more humane and gender sensitised manner, the statement added.

The special court will include the state-of-the-art infrastructure, audio and video recording and video link facilities.

A dedicated and gender sensitised court room environment for trial of rape and sexual assault cases is now becoming a reality for women and children across Pakistan, it concluded.

In December, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had introduced the anti-rape law. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet approved the legal measure in November 2020 and President Alvi signed it into law on Dec 15.

It may be recalled that special fast-track courts were proposed to hear rape cases and pronounce a verdict within four months.

Besides taking stringent measure to curb the menace, Section 3 of the Ordinance provides: “The President, in consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, shall establish as many Special Courts throughout the country, as he may deem necessary, to try the scheduled offences…The President, in consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, shall appoint any person as a Judge of the Special Court, who is or has been a Sessions Judge or Additional Sessions Judge, or has been an advocate of the High Court for a period of not less than ten years, and is not more than seventy years of age at the time of appointment.”

Moreover, “the President may, in consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, designate, throughout the country, as many Courts of Sessions Judges or Additional Sessions Judges as Special Courts, as he may deem fit.”

The law provides the judges “the same powers and jurisdiction as the court of Sessions, provided under the Code [of criminal procedure]”.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...
Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...