Showing posts with label Guidelines for fair trails of deaf accused. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guidelines for fair trails of deaf accused. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ensuring Fair Trials for Defendants with Hearing and Speech Disabilities: Supreme Court’s Call for Guidelines

Court: Supreme Court of India

Bench: Justice Surya Kant and Justice KV Viswanathan

Case title: Ramnarayan Manhar Vs. State of Chhatisgarh

Case Title: SLP (Crl)............ Diary No(s).15153/2024

Date of Hearing: 16 April 2024

Subject: Lack of Guidelines for Fair Trials for Deaf Accused 


In a recent development, the Supreme Court of India has brought attention to a critical issue concerning the fair trial rights of individuals with hearing and speech disabilities. The court noted the absence of established guidelines for conducting trials against such accused/ defendants and has taken steps to address this gap in the legal framework by issuing notice to Union of India through the Attorney General to examine this question of law and posted the matter on 26 July 2024.

“However, it is brought to our notice that this Court has not laid down so far the parameters and guidelines for conducting trial against a deaf-and-dumb accused, who is otherwise of sound mind and medically fit to commit a heinous offence like rape.” said the bench.

Background of the case

The case in question, Ramnarayan Manhar v. State of Chhattisgarh, revolves around the conviction of the accused for the heinous crime of raping two minor girls. 

The trial court convicted the perpetrator, the matter was forwarded to the High Court as the accused, being deaf, was not able to understand the proceedings. The same was done in light of Section 318 of the CrPC which provides as under:

"318. Procedure where accused does not understand proceedings.

If the accused, though not of unsound mind, cannot be made to understand the proceedings, the Court may proceed with the inquiry or trial, and, in the case of a Court other than a High Court, if such proceedings result in a conviction, the proceedings shall be forwarded to the High Court with a report of the circumstances of the case, and the High Court shall pass thereon such order as it thinks fit."

The High Court, after going through the testimonies of the witnesses, evidence including the medical evidence which corroborated the heinous act, convicted the accused person for attempting to commit rape. Against this conviction, the accused approached the Supreme Court.

After perusing the material on record, the Bench concluded that it was “prima facie satisfied” with the findings of the Trial and the High Court. That being so, the conviction and consequential sentence awarded to the petitioner seems to be justified, the Court expressed.

This move underscores the court’s commitment to upholding the principles of justice and equality for all, including those with disabilities.

Read the copy of the order below in Ramnarayan Manhar v. State of Chhattisgarh: