SC seeks data from HCs on pending sexual assault cases against minors

The Supreme Court today directed the Registrar Generals of the High Courts across the country to collect and collate data regarding the pendency of cases of sexual offences against children lodged under the stringent POCSO Act.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud gave the direction on a plea that had sought compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the parents of an eight-month old baby who was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin here on January 28 this year in a locality near Netaji Subhash Place in north-west Delhi..

The plea, filed by lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava, has also sought framing of guidelines that investigation and trial of the cases involving rape of children below the age of 12 years, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, should be completed within six months from the date of lodging of the FIR.

The top court today also directed its Registry to communicate the order to the registrars general of the high courts seeking a district wise detailed report on pendency of cases and posted the matter for hearing on April 20.

During the hearing, the petitioner referred to the 2016 data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and said only 11 per cent of the total of 1,01,326 POCSO cases have been decided by the trial courts in that year, which meant that 89 per cent of the cases were still pending across the country.

“1100 cases have been disposed of out of 1,01,326 cases,” Srivastava said.

The bench had on February 1 expressed its concern over the incident and asked the Centre and the petitioner’s lawyer to file details of pending cases of sexual assault against children across the country.

Earlier, on top court’s directions, the Centre had informed it that the baby had been shifted from a local government hospital to AIIMS for better treatment.

The AIIMS, in is report, had said that the local hospital had performed the corrective surgery of the infant in a professional manner.

The Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) had also filed its status report, informing the top court that Rs 75,000 interim compensation has been given to the baby’s parents.

The law officers had told the court that an FIR has already been registered and the accused was in judicial custody.

The apex court had expressed grave concern over the rape of the infant and had directed two doctors of AIIMS to visit her in the hospital and assess her condition.

The plea, filed by lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava, had said the external and internal injuries of the child were very severe and the infant had to undergo a three-hour surgery.

The police had said the accused had confessed to raping the baby under the influence of liquor.

The parents would go out for work leaving their daughter in the custody of their sister-in-law. Her son was at home that day since it was a Sunday, police had said. When the accused saw his mother was not around, he allegedly forced himself on the baby.

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