Cases of sexual offences against children are getting delayed in trial courts allegedly due to AAP government’s failure to provide basic facilities like forensic reports and vulnerable witnesses’ rooms, Delhi High Court was told Tuesday. The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice V Kameswar Rao which said the two PILs before it for time-bound trial and disposal of cases relating to offences against children, would be heard by the regular bench and listed the petitions for hearing on December 22.
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Apart from Delhi government’s alleged failure to provide forensic reports on time or more vulnerable witnesses rooms, one of the petitioners listed out other alleged deficiencies in implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act leading to delay in trial of such matters.
The shortcomings also include absence of a list of qualified experts like translator, interpreter, special educator or person familiar with communication mannerism of a child, whose assistance could be taken by the POCSO courts, petitioner Gaurav Kumar Bansal claimed in his additional affidavit.
He further claimed that as POCSO courts also dealt with matters related to Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, SEBI and Drugs and Cosmetics, the pendency was “heavy” and the victims also get exposed to the accused in such cases.
Earlier, the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) had told the High Court that the rate of conviction in cases of sexual offences against children was alarming.
DSLSA had said that conviction rates in POCSO matters for 2014 was 16.33 per cent, 19.65 per cent for 2015 and 18.49 per cent till July 31, 2016.
In order to improve the justice delivery system in cases of sexual offences under POCSO, a new software and computerisation of records is proposed to be introduced in District Courts, the authority had told the court.
Apart from Bansal, NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan has also sought time-bound trial and disposal of POCSO cases in the trial courts.