85% kid abuse cases pending in Delhi courts
NEW DELHI: The overall average percentage of pending cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in children’s courts in Delhi between April 2013 and March 2014 was 85% with the west district having the highest pendency of about 93%, reports Ambika Pandit.
In a shocking finding, the average pendency in Delhi’s children’s courts during the financial year 2013-14 of cases registered under Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act has been revealed to be as high as 85%, with West district recording the maximum of 93%.
The data, thrown up in an analysis by Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, shows gross violation of Section 35(2) of POCSO Act, which mandates completion of trials as fast as possible. The report, which describes the statistics as a “sorry picture”, also calculates the average percentage of convictions to be about 2%. Just 15% cases are disposed of.
“This commission feels that such a high percentage of pendency and low percentage of conviction can be attributed to the fact that children’s courts are not fully dedicated to the cases. They handle matters related to children in addition to usual cases allotted to them. As a result, the legal requirement that the case be disposed of within a year is not being adhered to,” says the report.
The DCPCR report studies trends based on data provided by police and other stakeholders since enactment of POCSO Act. The total number of cases registered by Delhi Police under the Act between December 2012 and March 2014 is 1,492. The maximum number of cases under POCSO Act was registered in the police district of Outer Delhi (226) followed by West (200) and Southeast (176). The highest percentage of sexual abuse of children by known persons was reported from Outer district again (94 cases) followed by Southeast (93 cases) and South/Central districts (91 cases). The average percentage of such crimes is 89%.
“This percentage is contrary to the findings of the Government of India study of 2007 which stated that 50% of abusers are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility. That report also stated that most children did not report the matter to anyone. Our analysis shows that more and more cases are being reported to the Delhi Police,” said DCPCR chairperson Arun Mathur.
The report says that investigation under POCSO Act has gained momentum only since mid-2013. “Since the POCSO Act came into force in November 2012 and cases would have begun to get registered a few months thereafter, it can be safely presumed that investigation under the law gained momentum only from the middle of 2013 onwards. With increasing awareness of the Act, there has been an increase in the reporting of cases under the Act,” says the report.
The POCSO Act that came into force on November 14, 2012 is described as a law “to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of special courts for trial of such offences and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.