The submissions were made by an advocate, who has filed a PIL on lack of number of independent public prosecutors in courts handling cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, in his rejoinder to the Delhi government’s affidavit of December 24, 2014.
The Delhi High Court was informed on Wednesday that there are 200-600 cases of sexual offences against children pending in each of the designated courts in six district courts in the national capital set up under the POCSO Act and more public prosecutors are needed to handle them.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was also told that the Delhi government did not apply its mind when it had informed the court that the lone public prosecutor in each designated POCSO court can handle the burden of cases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The submissions were made by an advocate, who has filed a PIL on lack of number of independent public prosecutors in courts handling cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, in his rejoinder to the Delhi government’s affidavit of December 24, 2014.The city government in its affidavit had said there were 3,216 cases relating to sexual offences against children under POCSO Act pending before different sessions courts in capital and the public prosecutors appearing there can handle them “as it is not much in number to create pressure or burden”.Refuting the government’s contention, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal has said in his rejoinder that “as per the list of pending cases provided by Additional Secretary (Home), Delhi government, the court of ASJ-1 of every district of national capital are overburdened and the number of cases in every court of Additional Sessions Judge(ASJ)-1 varies from 200 to 600 cases”.”The statement made by the Delhi government that the public prosecutor appearing in the court can handle cases under POCSO Act and it is not much in number as to create pressure / burden is uncalled for and reflects the non application mind,” he has said.He has contended that he found out under the Right to Information (RTI) Act that each special court not only handles cases under POCSO, but also deals with cases under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, MCOCA, SEBI Act apart from general trial cases.He has said that looking at the number of cases under the POCSO Act as well as other Acts in each of the special courts, completion of trial within stipulated time was not possible if more independent special public prosecutors are not appointed.Bansal in his rejoinder has said that “the court of ASJ-1, North District, Rohini, Delhi has also written a letter dated September 29, 2014, to Registrar General of Delhi High Court and has requested that the cases under MCOCA Act, all other general sessions trial cases, cases under Drugs and Cosmetics Act should be withdrawn from the court of ASJ-1 and be assigned to some other court of competent jurisdiction.” He has also said that the reply to his RTI query indicates that “the disposal rate of the POCSO cases is also not significant and as such there is an urgent need of making exclusive courts for the trial of the POCSO cases as well as for the appointment of the special public prosecutors (SPP)”.The Delhi government in its December 2014 affidavit had also informed the court that there was no need to appoint more than one additional public prosecutor for conducting the cases under POCSO Act.The high court had earlier asked the Administrative Reforms Department of the Delhi government to submit an affidavit on the issue of handling of POCSO cases by the special public prosecutors.Bansal in his plea has alleged that the government has not appointed SPPs to handle the POCSO cases.The plea had said that powers of SPPs have been conferred upon Additional Public Prosecutors (APPs) to deal with the cases pending in courts set up under the POCSO Act. He had contended the government’s decision to confer the powers of SPPs on already attached APPs was contrary to the high court’s orders to appoint special prosecutors for such cases alone.On April 16, last year, the Centre had told the high court that it has given a go-ahead to the city government to appoint SPPs in each special court set up to handle sexual offence cases involving minors.The court had thereafter asked the city government to appoint SPPs within four weeks and disposed of the PIL. It, however, had granted the liberty to seek revival of the PIL if the Delhi government failed to implement the order.
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