The Telegraph
Friday , April 29 , 2016

Order for retrial in Jowai rape case

Shillong, April 28: Meghalaya High Court today ordered retrial of a case in which a minor was allegedly raped in 2011. The high court has also asked an accused to appear before a trial court on May 27.

After several hearings, the high court, through Chief Justice, Dinesh Maheswari, pronounced its verdict today, setting aside the acquittal of rape accused Small Phawa who had allegedly raped the minor on November 30, 2011 at Riatsiatsim in Jowai, the district headquarters of West Jaintia Hills, around 65km from here.

The accused was present in the high court today.

The case reached the high court after the victim's mother appealed against an order passed by an ad hoc judge of the fast-track court, Jowai, acquitting Phawa.

The victim's mother addressed a letter to the member secretary of the Meghalaya State Legal Service Authority requesting an appeal in the high court against an order passed by the fast-track court, as she is poor.

In an order passed today, the high court reversed and set aside the fast-track court's order dated May 30, 2013, as well as the fast-track court's judgment and order dated February 26, 2015.

The high court ordered the trial court to deal with the matter expeditiously and deliver the final judgment without much delay within four months from the first date of appearance of the parties.

Earlier, the investigating officer, I. Nongrum, who investigated the alleged rape of the minor, was also asked to file an affidavit related to the missing clothes of the victim.

"The learned trial court shall also re-examine the investigating officer, and may put her relevant question having a bearing on the present case, with liberty of cross examination to the party entitled thereto," the order said.

Directing the accused (Phawa) to appear before the trial court on May 27, the high court said that the accused, who had been on bail during the earlier trial, shall furnish a personal bond of Rs 10,000 with one surety of like amount to the registrar-general of the high court for his appearance in the trial court on the given date.

"After his appearance in the trial court, the accused shall continue to remain on bail after furnishing such bond/surety as directed by the trial court," the high court said. ?

As the fast-track court, Jowai, is no longer functional, the high court directed that the case be taken up by the court of sessions judge, Jowai.

"The record of the earlier trial court (fast-track court) shall be transmitted to the aforesaid court of sessions judge," the high court order said.

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