No Compensation for 99% Minor Rape Victims: SC Fumes Over National Survey
The Supreme Court has expressed its 'shock' over this state of affairs, further noting that while the law mandates conclusion of trial within a year, even the investigations were not over in 20 per cent cases.
Image for representational purposes only.
New Delhi: Only one per cent of minor victims in sexual assault cases get compensation. The remaining 99 per cent have not got any monetary support despite there being a law and a scheme.
Similarly, of all the minor victims, 96 per cent do not get any assistance in the form of a support person — again a requirement under the POCSO Act.
Under the POCSO Act and a scheme framed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), a minimum compensation of Rs 4 lakh has to be given to victims of rape and unnatural sexual assaults. The scheme also provides for an interim compensation under the orders of the Supreme Court, which has held immediate financial help was a must in such cases. However, 99 per cent have also not get any interim compensation.
The Supreme Court has expressed its "shock" over this state of affairs, further noting that while the law mandates conclusion of trial within a year, even the investigations were not over in 20 per cent cases.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was referring to a report submitted by Supreme Court Registrar Surinder S Rathi, who was entrusted with undertaking a national survey of POCSO cases.
This report brought to fore statistics, which the top court, described as "completely disappointing" and in grave violation of the letters of the law.
"This report shows a shocking state of affairs. What to talk of trials, in 20% of the cases even investigation is not completed within one year. Virtually, no support persons are provided and no compensation is paid to the victims. Almost two-third of the cases are pending trial for more than one year," noted the bench.
The Court added that the time lines provided under the POCSO Act are violated at every stage and that one major reason is lack of awareness and lack of dedication in completing investigation.
Inadequacy of the number of courts has also resulted in cases remaining pending beyond the period mandated for completion of trial under the Act, said the bench.
It has now asked the Central government to play a "more proactive" role in ensuring that trials under the POCSO Act are completed within the time frame mandated under the law.
"We direct all the State Governments as well as the Union of India to do what is required to be done to ensure that all stages of investigation as well as trial, as contemplated under the Act, are completed within the time frame by creation of additional force for investigation," ordered the court.
It further directed the Union of India and the state governments to take steps for sensitization of officials associated with the investigation and also for creation or assignment of dedicated courts to try POCSO cases on top priority so that charge-sheets are filed within the mandatory period and trials are completed within the time frame contemplated under the Act.
The bench asked Centre and states to submit action taken reports, which will now be heard by a bench presided over by Justice Deepak Gupta on December 12.
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