Concerned over the huge pendency of child abuse cases in trial courts, the Delhi High Court today said it will pass appropriate orders in the matter. The issue came to the high court’s attention when a bail plea of an accused in such a case was mentioned before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar. The lawyer for the accused told the bench he has moved the high court as the trial court, set up under the POCSO Act, set a date of July 25, 2018, for the recording of the evidence in the case and also dismissed his bail plea and early hearing application. The lawyer, Vibhas K Jha, also told the bench that the trial court in Tis Hazari gave such a long date as 996 cases under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were already pending before it. The court then asked the lawyer what was the situation in the other POCSO courts in Delhi, to which Jha said there was huge pendency of POCSO cases in all district courts except the one at Saket.
Thereafter, the bench said it will ascertain the situation in all district courts with regard to POCSO cases and will pass appropriate orders on the administrative side. The Acting Chief Justice, according to the court staff, has forwarded the Tis Hazari court’s order to Registrar General Dinesh Sharma asking him to find out the number of cases pending in each district court and submit a report. In the case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which was on the bench today, the accused was arrested on September 1 last year for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl by showing a knife on August 31, 2016.
Charges for the offences including under sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape), 376 (2)(i) (raping a girl below 16 years of age) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC as well as section 6 (sexual assault) of the POCSO Act were framed against him on December 7 last year.The offense of rape under IPC and sexual assault under POCSO Act entail maximum punishment of life term. According to the bail plea moved by the accused, in POCSO cases the trial court has to start recording of evidence within one month of framing of charges. However, in the instant case, the date for prosecution evidence was initially fixed for July 15, on which date it was listed for recording of evidence on July 25 next year, the petition said. The bench allowed the matter to be listed for hearing tomorrow before the appropriate court.