In sheer indifference to the rehabilitation of minor rape victims, the police reported only two of 188 cases registered in four districts of the Doaba region in the last 23 months to the child welfare committee (CWC).
The police in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr have failed to follow the mandatory guidelines of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Only two cases were sent to the child welfare committee in Hoshiarpur that were registered at the Talwara police station.
Under the POCSO Act, the police have to report the matter to the child welfare committee within 24 hours an FIR is registered, to make arrangements for long-term rehabilitation of the minor victim.
The panel has to determine within three days as to whether a victim should be taken out of the custody of her family or taken to a children’s or shelter home.
The CWC is also supposed to provide a person to assist the child during the investigation and trial period with the consent of the child or her parents or any other person in whom she reposes trust.
The committee can also recommend relief funds to the victim after getting a case report from the police and can arrange education and counselling for her.
However, if the committee does not receive any details of such case from the police, it can also take suo moto notice based on media reports and can act accordingly.
Information received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that from January 2013 to November 2014, as many as 59 minor rape cases were registered in the jurisdiction of the Jalandhar commissionerate police, 45 in
Jalandhar rural, 23 in Kapurthala and 15 cases were lodged in Nawanshahr sub-division.
The police in Banga and Balachaur sub-divisions refused to divulge information sought under the RTI Act.
On October 21 last year, director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini, who was at the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) complex to pay tributes to martyrs on the Police Commemoration Day had claimed that the police would soon start the process of sending information pertaining to child sexual abuse to respective child welfare committees (CWCs) for arranging long-term rehabilitation of victims at the earliest, but no avail.
Sukesh Kalia, chairman of Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, “I will write to the DGP and the home secretary in this regard to set up mechanism for informing CWCs across the state so that these panels can start rehabilitation for victims besides and other assistance programmes.”