We have previously discussed the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old student. The trial is now beginning. However, the court has ordered that it be conducted behind closed doors despite the fact that the victim is dead. In addition, the judge has imposed a gag order on the lawyers. It is a poor decision by the judge and denies the public’s interest to view such trials. While India may not have the same right to public proceedings that we have in the United States, the denial of public access to the trial in such an important case is a terrible judgment on the part of the Court. This case has galvanized public opinion and forced Indian officials to deal with a long-ignored problem of rape in the country. Those officials would prefer for the trial to be conducted in secret.
The public will not hear the details of the rape by the five men, their testimony, or evidence of how officials responded to the rape. Of all of the cases to be heard in India, this is the case that demands public scrutiny. Yet, Judge Yogesh Khanna turned down requests by journalists for a simple briefing on the proceedings in a harsh blackout on information.
The judge will also rule on the fate of one defendant who claims that he was 17 at the time of the crime. If treated as a juvenile, he would only be subject to three years in a reform facility if convicted as a juvenile for the brutal rape and torture of the woman and beating of her male friend.
The decision of the judge to bar the public and media as well as gag the lawyers should trigger a review of how these cases are handled in India.
Source: Daily Mail