Supreme Court asks high courts to fast-track trial under POCSO Act
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a slew of directions to all high courts of the country regarding trial in sexual assault cases involving children.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra directed all high courts to ensure that cases of sexual assault of children are fast-tracked and decided by special courts.
The apex court also asked the high courts to instruct the trial courts not to grant unnecessary adjournments during trial of cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The bench, which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said the high courts may constitute a committee of three judges to regulate and monitor the trials of sexual assault cases of children, as it disposed of a PIL filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava.
Srivastava had approached the top court after an 8-month-old girl was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin on January 28 in a locality near Netaji Subhash Place in northwest Delhi.
On April 21, the union cabinet had approved the ordinance to provide stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of rape of girls below 12 years.
The Centre’s move came after public outcry for award of death penalty to such sexual offenders, including the assaulters of an 8-year-old girl who was allegedly gangraped and killed at Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir recently.
Srivastava’s plea had also sought the provision of death penalty in such cases and framing of guidelines that investigation and trial of cases involving rape of children below 12 years of age under POSCO Act, should be completed in six months from the date of registration of the FIR.
Police had said the accused had confessed to raping the baby under the influence of liquor.
The girl’s parents used to go out for work leaving their daughter in the custody of their sister-in-law. It was a Sunday when their sister-in-law’s son was at home, the police had said, adding that when the accused saw his mother was not around, he allegedly forced himself on the baby.
When the girl’s mother returned home, she saw blood stains on the victim’s clothes and informed her husband, they said, adding she was rushed to a hospital where it was found that she had been sexually assaulted.