As instances of child sexual abuse are coming to light on a more regular basis, a three judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has ordered data from the High Courts on the number of pending child sexual abuse cases booked under the POCSO Act, 2012.
In the year 2016 alone, as many as 106958 cases of crimes against children were recorded in 2016. Of these, 36,022 cases were recorded under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava filed a petition which said there was 95% pendency rate, as per the statistics of the National Crime Record Bureau. CJI Misra noted that the court wanted fresh and independent data collected by a team constituted under the supervision of the CJIs of the High Courts. The purpose behind asking for fresh and independent data remains unclear when the NCRB already had released the data.
The petition was filed in the case concerning the brutal sexual assault of an eight month old child who is admitted in AIIMS for intensive care under the court’s January 31 order. The child is serious and battling for her life right now.
As per the Act, special courts have been designated to look into the cases on a speedy basis. The Bench said it wanted to know the status so that it could set a deadline for the completion of trials in these courts. The Supreme Court has allocated four weeks for the High Courts to submit the data to the Supreme Court Registry..
In February, the court had said, “The death penalty is not the answer for everything.”
What will it take to end child sexual abuse in India?