Day 15 ArgumentsPOCSO Implementation
November 13th 2019
The Supreme Court is monitoring the implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. On 25 July 2019, the Supreme Court directed all States to ensure that exclusive POCSO courts are set up within 60 days in every district where more than 100 cases have been registered under the POCSO Act.
Today, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna sought a status update. Amicus Curiae V Giri was not present. As such, the Bench asked simply to be apprised of whether POCSO trials are being fast-tracked in general.
An advocate appearing for the Registry stated that the Union was partially complying with the Court’s directions. He reported that roughly 1 lakh out of 1 lakh 66 thousand POCSO were currently pending nation-wide.
He noted that the highest number of POCSO cases have been reported in the State of Uttar Pradesh. Since the notification of the POCSO Act, there have been 2.22 lakh cases, he reported.
Chief Justice Gogoi asked how many cases have been registered this year nation-wide, since January. The advocate reported that roughly 35,000 POCSO cases have been instituted. He explained that the figure had been inferred in part from data on charge-sheets. He said that this could be done because almost all cases resulted in charge-sheets (inference drawn from past registered cases). He referred the Bench to a report, for information about the methods used.
Chief Justice Gogoi expressed concern over the lack of action taken by the Union. He observed that according to the Registry’s report, around 35% of cases have been pending for more than 180 days. He noted that of these pending cases many haven’t been disposed for 3-4 years. The Act mandates that cases are disposed of within 1 year of cognisance of the offence.
Further, he expressed dismay about the fact that in around 99% of cases no interim compensation has been granted. The advocate appearing said that he had prepared a model scheme for addressing the issue. Chief Justice Gogoi directed him to file a draft of it with the Registrar.
Chief Justice Gogoi directed that the Union and States to ensure that all the requirement for investigation and trial under the Act are complied with. He emphasised the need for the sensitisations of officials, observing that lack of awareness is a major hindrance of the efficient disposal of POCSO cases.
He directed the Registrar to list the matter on 12 December before Justice Deepak Gupta’s Bench.