Supreme Court directs states to appoint trained public prosecutors for POCSO cases to protect children that are victims of sexual abuse.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition with regard to the alarming rise in the number of reported child rape incidents after taking suo motu cognizance.
Due to the alarming increase in the sexual harassment cases against children and such cases involving children need to be dealt with extreme care and sensitivity and so the public prosecutors must be trained to deal with child victims and book cases while laying emphasis on the need to develop a program to train the public prosecutors to handle child victims.
The Supreme Court of India said that there is a need to have exclusive special public prosecutors to deal with cases registered under the protection of children from sexual offenses (POCSO) act.
Dealing with children with care and sensitivity –
Every public prosecutor dealing with the Pocso case need to know how to bring out the truth from children who are victims of sexual abuse and because during the trial of the case the child has to undergo the trauma again while recounting the traumatic experience, the public prosecutor should be trained to deal with such children with utmost care and sensitivity.
A need for a training program to train public prosecutors –
In order to deal with child victims of sexual abuse, the public prosecutors attached to POCSO courts should be imparted training not only in law but also in child psychology, child behavior, health issues, etc.
The Supreme Court of India requested the chief justices of all high courts to ensure that in the judicial Academy of the state special programs are developed so that the public prosecutors are trained accordingly.
A bench of justices Dipak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said, there is a need to have exclusive public prosecutors but there is also a need to develop a training program where the special public prosecutors should be trained to deal with POCSO cases.
These issues may not just be confined to legal issues but the issues may also be psychological, health and other related issues.
Master trainers who can work in judicial academies–
The Supreme Court of India made a request to the director of the national judicial Academy to ensure that a training program is developed in the national judicial Academy to train master trainers who can then work in the judicial academies in each state as the national judicial Academy alone cannot train all the special public prosecutors across the entire country but they can prepare a team of master trainers who can travel across states to impart training to the persons appointed as special public prosecutors for POCSO cases.
The Supreme Court also directed Assam and registrar general of J&K High Court to file affidavits clearly stating that POCSO courts shall exclusively deal with only POCSO matters and not any other matter and these affidavits have to be filed by February 28.
Number of Pocso courts as per the number of cases –
While directing the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to sit with the registrar general of the High Court on or before January 24, 2020, to prepare a chart of Pocso cases in each district, the Supreme Court said if there are more than 100 cases in any district then in pursuance of our directions dated December 16, 2019, one exclusive POCSO court shall be set up and made functional before March 1, 2020.
The Supreme Court also made it clear that in case there is no district having more than 100 cases then there wouldn’t be a need to set up exclusive Courts to deal with POCSO cases.
The Supreme Court further said, two designated courts shall be set up in districts that has more than 300 POCSO cases.
Spread prevention of child abuse awareness through digital medium –
The Supreme Court of India by making directions regarding the POCSO cases also said that a short clip intending to spread awareness about prevention of child abuse and prosecution of crimes against children be screened in every movie hall and broadcast by various television channels at regular intervals that could help spread more awareness among people regarding sexual harassment against children.
The special court would be funded by the Centre that will take care of the appointment of the presiding officer, the special public prosecutors to be appointed for the cases, the staff, and infrastructure, support persons, along with creating a child-friendly environment and vulnerable witness courtrooms.