Families of child victims of sexual assault are not being informed about the accused walking out on bail despite the law mandating that such information be conveyed, a PIL in Delhi High Court has said. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar sought the stand of the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Delhi Police, and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on the allegation made in the petition. The plea, moved by the mothers of two victims of sexual abuse, claimed that under the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Rules, the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or the local police “must keep the child or the parent or the guardian as the case may be, informed about the developments in the case”. The women alleged that in the cases pertaining to their children, the provisions of the POCSO Act and Rules were not followed by the authorities as they were not informed when the accused persons had moved bail pleas or when they had been granted the relief.
The victims’ families came to know that the accused persons were out on bail much later, the petition, filed through advocate Gautam Khazanchi, said.
The mothers claimed that they had informed the police, much before the accused had sought bail, that they were getting death threats, but this information was not placed before the trial court by the police. The petitioners sought directions to the authorities “to ensure effective implementation of the mandate of POCSO Act and Rules”. They also urged the high court to direct the trial courts “to secure efficient and effective participation of the child victims through their legal representatives at all stages of the judicial process”. Apart from these reliefs, the petitioners also sought framing of guidelines by the authorities for protection of child victims of sexual abuse and for safeguarding of their interests as provided under the POCSO Act and Rules.
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The PIL also asked for directions to the authorities to implement the provisions of the act which mandates the victim or his or her family or guardian being kept informed about all developments, including grant of bail to accused, in the case. It further wanted a declaration that under the POCSO Act and Rules, legal representative, parents or guardian of the child be heard before grant of bail to the accused. The court has listed the petition for further hearing on July 25.