Despite requesting for a counselor twice for a traumatised eight-year-old victim of a sodomy case, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in city was unable to provide one.
As a result, the statement of the child was recorded by a local court in the Child Witness Court on Tuesday without the presence of a counselor.
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Also, as per the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012, the court should have recorded the statement of the child within 30 days of cognisance by the court. However, it has taken several months to record the statement of the child. As per the Section 35 (l) of the POCSO Act, “The evidence of the child shall be recorded within a period of 30 days of the special court taking cognizance of the offence and reasons for delay, if any, shall be recorded by the special court.”
The case dates back to June 6, 2015 when the child, who was a resident of Colony No 4, was allegedly sodomised by a man called Pradeep. The accused allegedly took the child to his house and committed the crime.
When the alleged sodomy case was taken up on March 22, the court could not get the statement of the child recorded as he was traumatised and was fumbling following which the court asked the Child welfare Committee to counsel the child the second time. However, the child was not counseled. The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Atul Kasana, thereafter got the statement of the child recorded on Tuesday in the presence of his father. In the earlier hearing, his father was also not present.
When asked by Chandigarh Newsline the reason behind CWC’s inability to provide a counselor, Chairperson of CWC Niel Roberts said, “Whenever a case comes up to us, we provide counseling to the child. We had assigned a counselor in this case as well. But I don’t know why he was not present when the statement was being recorded. As per the act, the counselor should have been present when the statement was being recorded.”