Home System list Ex-CJI Lalit defends acquittals in Chhawla gang rape and murder case

Ex-CJI Lalit defends acquittals in Chhawla gang rape and murder case


Former Chief Justice of India – UU Lalit

Photo: Times Now

Defending the release of three death row inmates in the horrific Chhawla gang rape and murder case, India’s former Chief Justice UU Lalit, who had led the Supreme Court bench in the case, said said the prosecution failed miserably to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. , nor could it form a chain of circumstantial evidence
On the outcry over the acquittals triggered, Judge Lalit said only evidence counted in court and nothing else. Reacting to national outrage, the former CJI said in an interview with Times Now: “Who said circumstantial evidence was enough? If we, at the level of the Supreme Court of Appeal, found that the circumstantial evidence was not well established, the condemned deserve acquittal. He went on to add that “the circumstances did not form a complete chain and did not eliminate all other hypotheses to prove the man’s guilt. The circumstances did not prove the guilt of the men. It is true that there can be a crime committed in society. There are people accused of committing this crime. But we’ll have to see if the guilt was brought home or not. This must be reviewed by the judicial body of the company.

“By the very nature and rules, the trial court can come to a conclusion, which the High Court will uphold. Finally, it is the CS which must rule on it. We couldn’t find material good enough to sustain the conviction,” the former CJI said.

Pointing to glaring flaws in the investigation by Delhi Police and Haryana Police the way the trial was conducted, the bench led by then Chief Justice UU Lalit and Judges Ravindra Bhat and Bela Trivedi released death row inmates Rahul, Ravi and Vinod. November 7.

The victim was returning from Cybercity work in Gurugram on February 9, 2012, along with three of his colleagues who lived in the same neighborhood in Qutub Vihar in the Dwarka of Delhi.

The girls were dropped off by a bus around 8:30 p.m. and had to walk through a maze of poorly lit alleys to reach their home. Three men in a car reportedly accosted the women and began making rude comments. They suddenly pulled the victim inside the car and fled.

They allegedly burned her body with cigarette butts, mutilated her eyes and face with screwdrivers, poured acid on it and also inserted a broken beer bottle into her private parts, and left her to bleed to death, according to the indictment. The body was found four days later in a field in Rewari, Haryana.

On Criticism of the Collegium System of the Supreme Court

Justice Lalit, who was the CJI when Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju launched an attack on the collegiate system of appointing judges, hit back at the Center.

Minister Rijiju had previously said at media conclaves that the college system is opaque and that alternative modes of appointment should be explored. He went on to add that the government could not remain silent on the issue for long. He further stated that judges only recommend the appointment or elevation of those they know, and not always the most suitable person for the position.

Reacting to the comments, Judge Lalit said: “In my opinion, this is the best system. My point of view is this. It is a system where all input is taken into account and, at the appropriate stages, each advisory body – be it the State Government, the Centre, the judges consulted, the College of the High Court, the College of the Supreme Court and finally all government bodies – are in the loop. The consultation process is solid. It is the result of these contributions. We could have 250 recommendations in the first quorum, which were fruitful and successful. The college system has proven effective.

photo of the bed with his wife
Judge Lalit with his wife – Amita Lalit – at their residence

On his greatest achievement in 74 days in office

The former CJI said his greatest achievement during the short 74-day term had been the establishment of the Constitution’s six benches.

He told Times Now: “The basic function of the Supreme Court is to enact the law, to enact it with authority, certainty and the best way to do that is to have larger benches. The benches of the Constitution can decide so many issues that will be good for the country. Two days before I even took office, we published a list of 25 cases to be placed before the benches of the Constitution. To have six benches in a short term of 74 days, and getting these cases put on those Constitution pews… if you ask me, that’s the best accomplishment I’ve ever been able to accomplish, with the help of all the brotherhood of my brethren and sister judges.”

Not disappointed with the impossibility of appointing judges to the Supreme Court

“No. Not at all. I am not disappointed at all,” Justice Lalit replied when asked about his inability to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, which now has five vacancies.

Justice Lalit initiated the process to fill vacancies when he was CJI. However, the process initiated by Judge Lalit as CJI to fill the vacancies had to be abandoned as Judges DY Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer, who were part of the college, had objected to the erasing of names by circulation and had insisted that the physical college meet. 11 names were filed with the college and Judge Lalit embarked on the extraordinary process for lack of time.

The government had indeed used the “apparent cracks within the college” and the episode (circumstances in which proposed appointments had to be rescinded) as a handle to attack the college system.