'Can't Have Kangaroo Courts for Trials': SC Raps Bengal, UP as Child Rape Cases Pile Up
The apex court mentioned that there were no exclusive POCSO Courts set up in the state of Uttar Pradesh till date. The court called it 'shocking' that in all the 74 districts of UP, there are more than 100 POCSO cases pending.
The Supreme Court of India. (News18 Creative)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has come down heavily on governments of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh for an "extremely deplorable state of affairs" with regard to trials of child rape cases.
The court, in particular, reproached the UP government saying "if the state cannot take care of the law and order situation and reduce the number of crimes against children, then it must take the responsibility and ensure that these trials take place as early as possible."
It noted that UP had more than one-fourth of total pendency of POCSO cases in the country but the state does not have even one exclusive court for such cases.
A bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta, which has issued orders for setting up of special POCSO courts across the states and Union territories and is also monitoring the steps taken, had to pass special orders for UP and West Bengal due to sheer number of pending cases there.
In its order last week, the top court reproached these two states for not paying heed to directives passed recently and maintained that they are not concerned with the rights of children.
"More than four months have elapsed since orders having been passed by this Court. Virtually no efforts have been made to set up POCSO Courts. The situation is alarming in these two states and if special orders are not passed with regard to these two States, we may reach a situation where the judicial system in relation to POCSO case comes to grinding halt and if that happens, then the Rule of Law will break down and people will resort to revenge and violence outside the Court rooms," regretted the bench.
It added: "If the Rule of Law breaks down, only anarchy will prevail. We cannot have 'Kangaroo Courts' conducting trials of these cases."
The court called it "shocking" that in all the 74 districts of UP, there are more than 100 POCSO cases pending. "The total number of POCSO cases pending in the State of Uttar Pradesh is 44,000. This is virtually more than 25% of the total pendency of the POCSO cases in the country. There are no exclusive POCSO Courts set up in the State of Uttar Pradesh till date."
Relying upon a report by the Central government, the court said that out of 74 judicial districts in UP, in 19 districts there are more than 400 cases, in 16 districts there are more than 600 cases, in six districts there are more than 800 cases and in 10 districts there are more than 1,000 cases pending.
It ordered that UP government must set up one exclusive court for judicial districts which have up to 300m POCSO cases pending; two courts in districts with 301 to 600 cases; three courts in districts with 601 to 1,000 POCSO cases and four courts in districts with cases more than 1000 cases.
It pointed out that the Centre has already sanctioned funds for 74 POCSO courts, and directed the UP government to make all infrastructure available so that these courts are functional before March 1 next year.
Similarly, for West Bengal, the bench noted that 9 districts have 200 to 400 POCSO cases, 4 districts have between 400 to 600 POCSO cases, one district has 1000 to 1200 POCSO cases, one district has 1200 to 1600 POCSO cases and one district has 1600 to 2000 POCSO cases.
Here also, the apex court recorded that the Central government should release funds for setting up of exclusive courts within two weeks of required information being supplied by the state government. It added that the chief secretary, after consultation with the chief justice of the high court, must ensure that requisite number of courts are made functional by March 1 next year.
The court will hear the matter next on March 6.
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