Supreme Court Seeks Guidelines for Trials of Deaf-and-Dumb Accused in Rape Cases

Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan seek Central govt's response on trial guidelines for deaf-and-dumb accused in rape case. Accused's plea for interim bail dismissed. Case adjourned till July.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan asked the Central government to respond regarding trials involving deaf-and-dumb accused individuals capable of committing serious crimes like rape.

"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. Let notice be issued to Union of India through the learned Attorney General for India as well as to the respondent-State, returnable on 26.07.2024 for the purpose of determining the question of law," the Court's April 16 order stated.

The observations came while dismissing a plea for interim bail, filed by a man convicted by a trial court and a High Court for the rape of two minor girls.

The accused man, who is deaf and mute, had moved the top court challenging a Chhattisgarh High Court's 2022 decision to uphold his conviction and sentence in the rape case.

The top court opined that it was prima facie satisfied with the orders of the trial court and the High Court. Therefore, it dismissed the plea for interim bail.

However, the Court's attention was then drawn to the apparent gap in the law when it comes to the process of trial against deaf and mute persons.

The Court, therefore, sought the responses of the Union government and the Chhattisgarh government in the matter, before adjourning the case till July end.

Advocate Dr. Nirmal Chopra appeared for the accused, one Ramnarayan Manhar.