A designated court in Chandigarh for hearing cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has become first such court to fast-track cases in the tricity.
The recent conviction of a father of three daughters was the first case wherein an accused was held guilty under POCSO Act. For the first time, the UT police registered a case under POCSO Act and filed the challan in record 15 days, putting the trial on fast-track.
The court, which was designated to hear all cases under the act, has disposed two cases in past about three months, while seven cases are pending.
The POCSO Act is a comprehensive law provided for protection of children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated special courts.
The act, which was notified in November 14, 2012, mandates designation of certain courts as special courts to try cases.
The UT police have been invoking the provisions of POCSO Act in complaints of sexual offences against children. It provides for recording the evidence within 30 days and the special court must complete the trial within a year.
“Since 2009 all cases relating to the crime against women and children are being fast-tracked, but now with the setting up of special designated court these cases are being fast-tracked,” said Manu Kakkar, a public prosecutor.
In the two cases decided by the court, the trial was completed in mere one hour, which speaks volumes of the commitment of all wings of justice delivery system, Kakkar added.
“With the special court, there is hope for the victims to get speedy justice and all cases under the POCSO Act would be dealt on priority, thus reviving the common man's faith in justice-delivery system and putting the trial of cases of sexual assault against children on fast track,” said advocate Vikas Sagar.
Cases disposed under POCSO Act
In March, fast-tracking the delivery of justice the court had held father of three daughters guilty under POSCO Act. The entire evidence was recorded in one hour and the accused, Bir Bahadur (37), a resident of Kajehri, was awarded five-year jail 14 days after the incident. The incident occurred on March 2 and within five days the UT police filed chargesheet in the court in a case of attempt to rape a minor.
In April, the court had awarded three-year imprisonment to a Colony Number 5 resident, Guddu alias Pintu, who was held guilty of kidnapping a 12-year-old on pretext of marrying her. Guddu was booked in October 2012 after the victim's brother alleged that he had kidnapped her. As per the police, the accused had taken the victim to Uttar Pradesh from where she was recovered. The girl had refused to undergo medical examination and police had arrested Guddu.
A first for Chandigarh
The Chandigarh court has become the first court to dispose two cases under the POCSO Act. There are seven cases pending in the court. Though Panchkula also has a designated special court and evidence has been recorded in the cases, but no pronouncement has been made. SAS Nagar is yet to start a designated special court to hear cases under the POSCO Act. Though there have been cases of sexual exploitation of children, police have not started registering cases under the act.