Rape Cases – Legal Loopholes

6 months – Fast Track Courts supposed to take in a rape case after filing of charge-sheet.

1 to 2 years – the average time they take.
High Court and Supreme Court – no time frame. In Nirbhaya case, it took 3 years 6 months.
Review Plea – within 30 days of the Supreme Court verdict. But with provision of condonation, the court can pardon them on a delayed review plea if the sentence is serious or if they have given convincing reasons. In Nirbhaya’s case, the last convict filed review petition on December 9, 2019, almost 31 months after the Supreme Court delivered on May 5, 2017.
Curative Petition – last legal resort against the verdict. No time frame. The top court usually, so far, accepts the curative petition till 6 months after it dismissed the review plea.
Mercy Petition – to the President of India. No time frame. Can be filed even one day before the date of execution. A mercy petition can be filed even before the curative petition.
2nd Mercy Petition – sometimes, a 2nd mercy petition is filed after the curative petition is rejected as happened in Yakub Memon case. Memon filed the 2nd mercy petition claiming his health condition, (schizophrenia since 1996) and long stay in jail (for 20 years). But the petition was dismissed.
2nd mercy petition is also filed in some cases when, due to administrative apathy, the action is delayed for a long time even after the 1st mercy petition was dismissed as happened in the case of Dhananjoy Chatterjee in Kolkata.

(Rape cases are just a case in point here, as after the Nirbhaya rape case, the justice was expected within a year. But convicts use such delaying tactics in all other cases with such sentences.) 

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