Court sits in AIIMS, records Unnao rape victim’s statement
NEW DELHI: A temporary court was convened inside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) trauma centre in New Delhi on Wednesday to record the testimony of the Unnao rape survivor, with legal experts welcoming the unprecedented step that was taken to facilitate day-to-day proceedings in the sensitive case.
The in-camera proceedings started at 10am and went on for roughly eight hours. Only lawyers, select doctors and top officials were allowed inside the court, presided over by judge Dharmesh Sharma.
Two of the accused, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his associate Shashi Singh, were also brought to the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS, where the woman is presently admitted following a car-truck collision on July 28, in which Sengar is one of the prime suspects. The woman has also accused Sengar of raping her in 2017.
An official said on condition of anonymity that the two accused were present behind a curtain in the same room. The Delhi high court last week approved recording the survivor’s statement at AIIMS. “It is a very sensitive case and no one was allowed to go inside the temporary court. All the arrangements requested for by the court, like switching off the CCTV cameras inside the room, have been followed,” said a doctor from the hospital on condition of anonymity.
The doctors arranged for a stretcher inside the temporary court to allow her to lie down in between proceedings.
“There are several cases in which the statements are recorded by the magistrate in the hospital, but having an entire courthouse being set up in the hospital, this has never happened before. I have never seen anything like this in all the years that I have worked here,” said a second hospital official.
Judge Sharma decided to continue the day-to-day hearing from Wednesday till the time the testimony is concluded. The special court also stated the proceedings would be held in-camera and no other public person would be allowed to enter the court without permission. The woman is likely to be cross-examined on Thursday.
A first doctor quoted above said the survivor was well and on medication.
“That is why her statement is being recorded now. All the major procedures for fixing the orthopaedic injuries are already over,” he added.
Security personnel outside the AIIMS trauma centre in New Delhi on Wednesday.