Day 8 ArgumentsPOCSO Implementation
September 6th 2019
The court is monitoring three matters pertaining to child rights. On 12 July, the Supreme Court on its own motion instituted a petition to monitor the implementation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2012 Act. Originally, the court intended to limit the scope of the matter to burgeoning disposal rates. However, roughly a month later the court tagged two additional cases to the original petition.
On 31 July, the court tagged the Unnao rape matter to the case. The Unnao matter pertains to the alleged rape of a teenage girl by former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. The family of the victim wrote the Chief Justice a letter regarding the victimisation they were suffering. After the victim, her aunts and lawyer were hit by a speeding truck under suspicious circumstances, the court took note of the letter.
On 5 August, the court tagged National Commission for Protection of Child Rights v. Rajesh Kumar to the case. In 2017, the NCPCR filed a special leave petition praying for jurisdiction over a child trafficking matter being handled by the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights. It claims that child trafficking is a national matter and thus exempted from Section 13(2) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act. On 4 January 2018, the court expanded the scope of the petition to include general issues of child rights. It ordered all states to report whether they have appointed Special Public Prosecutors under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
Today, the two-judge bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose was expected to hear National Commission for Protection of Child Rights v. Rajesh Kumar, originally listed for September 3rd. In particular, it was expected to hear the counsels for West Bengal and the Union present arguments on the jurisdiction issue (see above). The matter did not arise.
In addition, the court had listed the Unnao matter for today. Today, the bench issued a slew of orders. First, it granted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) an additional week to complete its investigation in the accident case (RC 12). On August 19th, it had directed the CBI to complete its investigation within four weeks and file a charge sheet under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The Court directed the Delhi High Court to set up a temporary court at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi for recording the rape victim’s testimony. The victim sustained critical injuries during the July motor-vehicular accident.
Finally, the Court set a time period of 45 days for the sessions Court to complete the trials.
The matter is listed for September 26th, when the Court will return its attention to the POCSO case, to assess the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors and establishment of Exclusive Courts.