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Slow pace of trial defeating the very purpose of POCSO Act: Bombay High Court

When deciding on a bail application involving the unfortunate incident of a girl (14 years old) who was allegedly sexually assaulted by the applicant, the Bombay High Court emphasized the goal of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012 and expressed disappointment over the slow pace of the trial through Justice  Bharati Dangre in the case of Azaruddin N. Mirsilkar v. State of Maharashtra (Bail Application No.466 of 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE:
The girl later gave birth to a kid, and the Assistant Public Prosecutor was instructed to find out how the trial was going. The court recalled that only after the writ was issued by this court did the trial begin, and as a result, only one witness has been questioned so far in the current case.

After five years, the victim girl’s statement was finally recorded. The Special Courts’ method of proceeding with the POCSO trial, dealing with the offenders under the Special Statute, enacted with a specific purpose, to prevent exploitation of minors/children and punish the offenders, is being defeated by the Special Courts’ procedure. It was informed that Committees have been formed at the High Court level to monitor the progress of the POCSO cases.

JUDGEMENT:

The Court was troubled by the fact that only one Court has the authority to hear cases involving offences covered by the POCSO Act, whereas other Courts that are given POCSO cases are also compelled to accept other cases. The Court ordered the Principal Judge of the Court of Sessions in Greater Mumbai to submit a report on the POCSO cases that are still pending in Mumbai as well as information on how many POCSO Courts were designated as “Special Courts” and the number of cases that are still pending with those Courts.

A report about the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors in the POCSO Court as well as mandated compliances, such as the interpreter or expert as provided for in section 38 of the POCSO Act, was also requested from the in-charge Judge.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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