Dismayed at delays, SC seeks status of all cases of child rape
The CJI said it was regrettable that in Delhi, out of 172 cases listed for trial since January, only two cases have been disposed of till dateUpdated: Jul 15, 2019 23:38 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its concern over delay in investigations and trials in cases of child rape despite the existence of a special law to deal with such cases, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (Pocso), which mandates the completion of trials within a year.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said it was regrettable that in Delhi, out of 172 cases listed for trial since January, only two cases have been disposed of till date. “If this is the situation in the national capital, one can imagine about the overall position in the rest of the country,” justice Gogoi remarked during the hearing. The bench was hearing a suo motu case initiated by its registry to tackle the problem of rising number of incidents relating to child rape across the country amid reports that 24,000 such cases have been reported in the first half of the year.
The CJI added that the bench had so far been able to peruse the figures available with the top court’s registry for crimes of this nature between January 1 and July 15, 2019, and not of the previous years since the enactment of the act in 2012. The bench asked senior advocate V Giri to collate information by districts on the various stages of investigation and trials in child rape cases. Giri was also asked to gather information on the number of designated special courts and public prosecutors appointed so far to deal with offences registered under the special law.
The court ordered that the exercise be completed within 10 days, and directed one of its registrars to work in association with Giri’s office. The bench fixed July 25 as the next date of hearing. Secretaries of the Juvenile Justice Committees of different high courts have also been ordered to work in tandem with the top court’s registrar in this exercise.
The Supreme Court passed the direction after Giri told the court that though the Pocso Act mandated that there be special courts to deal with the issue, most states did not have them. Similarly, while the law mandates the appointment of special public prosecutors with minimum 10-year experience to deal with such cases, only few states have done this.
In an order in the same case last week, the CJI recorded that as per the data collated by the apex court’s registry, as many as 24,212 first information reports (FIRs) relating to child rape have been filed across India between January 1 and June 30 this year. Of these, 11,981 cases are under investigation and final reports have been filed in 12,231 cases. Trial has commenced in just 50% of the cases as police investigation in the remaining ones is still incomplete, the data reflected.