Within a few days of writing letters to all the Chief Justices of High Courts to set up fast track courts to try cases of crimes against women, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Thursday set up a Special Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ms. Gyan Sudha Misra.

The Bench will begin its hearing on January 14 and a total of 526 cases relating to rape, dowry and other sexual offences from 2002 have been listed before this Bench which is expected to take up the matters on day-to-day basis.

According to the circular posted on the Supreme Court website, cases of accused languishing in jails will be given priority and will be taken up first. The Suryanelli rape case which was mentioned again on Thursday for early listing has been listed as the 87th item in the serial number out of the 526 cases.

In the circular issued on January 9 the items were categorised as 19 items in the order of priority— part-heard matters if any; death cases; matters relating to sexual harassment, kidnapping and abduction; matters relating to harassment of SC/ST/OBC and women; matters relating to harassment, cruelty to women for dowry, dowry death, eve-teasing, domestic violence etc; prevention of corruption matters; other criminal matters in which accused are in jail; group matters (five onwards); three judges bench matters; appeals filed against acquittals; elections matters of Parliament and Assembly constituencies; specially directed and adjourned matters; out of job matters; senior citizens matters; matrimonial cases; old cases; matters which are to be listed after the disposal of a particular matter, short cases and expedited and ordinary matters in the ratio of 1:2.

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