‘100 pending cases? Set up a POCSO court’

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By Moderator July 26, 2019 10:39

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The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the setting up of special courts in each district across the country that had over a 100 cases of child abuse and sexual assault pending trial under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

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  • The order came on a suo motu public interest litigation petition registered by the Supreme Court after being concerned by the “alarming rise” in child abuse cases and their long pendency in courts.
  • The court had registered the PIL plea under the title ‘In-re Alarming Rise in The Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents.”
    • The PIL plea was instituted on the basis of the court’s own report that showed that from January 1 to June 30 this year, 24,212 First Information Reports were filed across India.
    • Of these, 11,981 were still being probed by the police and in 12,231 cases, the police had filed the charge sheets. Trial had commenced in 6,449 cases only, it said, adding that they were yet to commence in 4,871. Till now, the trial courts had decided only 911 cases, that is, about 4% of the total cases registered.
  • On Monday, the Supreme Court had sought data on the status of child rape cases from various states after expressing concerns over increasing number of such cases and the delay in investigations.
  • The Supreme Court noted that the collection of nationwide data on child rape cases would delay implementation of POCSO law.
    • It said the suggestion of senior advocate V Giri to set up a forensic lab in each district for expeditious disposal of POCSO cases can wait.
  • The court directed the central government to provide funds for separate POCSO courts and set a deadline of 60 days for constitution of the courts.
  • The bench said the Centre would have to appoint trained, sensitised prosecutors and support persons to deal with POCSO cases.
    • The court said the support persons in these special courts, who perform the crucial role of a bridge between the child victim and the court’s officers and investigators, should comprise dedicated people who had excellent academic qualifications and devoted to child rights.
  • It also directed the chief secretaries of states and Union Territories to ensure timely submission of forensic reports in such cases.

Noting that children were the victims in such cases, the CJI said there was no excuse for a long delay in justice for them. The traumatised victims needed to be treated with compassion and kindness. In short, a completely different approach was required while investigating and trying POCSO cases.

  • The Supreme Court’s order came a day after Rajya Sabha approved amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to include death penalty for sexual assault on minors.
    • The amendments also provide for fines and imprisonment for those indulging in child pornography.
    • The bill was introduced in Parliament by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday, and will now be sent to the Lok Sabha for approval.
    • It was approved by the Union Cabinet earlier this month.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-orders-setting-up-of-special-courts-in-districts-with-over-100-pending-pocso-cases/article28707581.ece

Moderator
By Moderator July 26, 2019 10:39