The Supreme Court Monday expressed displeasure over the tardy pace of disposal of cases of sexual crimes against children in the national capital, and suggested that courts for children be kept away from regular court complexes.
“Look at the disposal rate in Delhi — only two cases between January and June this year. This is the state of affairs in the national capital despite state-of-the-art facilities,” observed Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The Chief Justice, along with Justice Deepak Gupta, was hearing a petition which raised the issue of pendency of child rape cases across the country.
The court had taken suo motu cognizance of the matter and appointed Senior Advocate V Giri as amicus curiae to suggest ways to ensure faster disposal.
Giri told the court that in most states, including those where the number of such cases was not overwhelming, the disposal rate was poor.
He suggested if appointing special prosecutors only for child rape cases could be considered. Designated courts hearing cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) must not be burdened to hear any other matter, the amicus said. Giri also said there was a need to restructure court buildings in such a way that they will be sensitive to the needs of the children.
Justice Gupta said that at present, courts which hear cases under the POCSO Act are within the regular court complexes. “They should be totally separate,” he said.
The amicus sought time to collate all the relevant facts and present them in writing.
Allowing this, the court said, “We request Shri Giri to proceed with the exercise, to facilitate which we direct Shri Surinder S Rathi, Registrar of this Court, to work in association with Shri Giri’s office and get the required information which would be in the context of the total number of POCSO cases pending in each district of the country. The period for which the POCSO cases remained pending may also be collected separately.”