Increase in number of incidents of brutal child rapes and murder despite strengthening of laws from the government has led the Supreme Court to suo moto register a petition seeking to establish a national response delivering ‘zero tolerance’ towards sexual assault on children.
Several disturbing cases of child abuse one after the other in a matter of a few weeks in the recent past compelled CJI Ranjan Gogoi on July 1 to direct the registry to submit a report on few aspects—number of cases of violence against children that have been registered since January 1, stages of investigation, time taken to file charge sheet and pendency in trial courts.
While the law contends death penalty to rapists of children below 12 years of age and other such stringent amendments made within the POCSO Act by the legislators last year, these laws fail to be a deterrent to predators. On the basis of such findings from the collated data sheet and the report by the registry, CJI Gogoi suggested, “need for intervention in shaping concerted, persistent and clear national response, displaying ‘zero tolerance’ for such abhorrent and horrifying behaviour towards our children, by the criminal justice administration and its constituents in India.”
Within the last six month, police has registered a total of 24212 FIRs of child rape across the country. Of these in close to half of the complaints i.e. 11,981 cases, police is still investigating the matter while in 12,231 cases, police have filed the charge sheet. However, trial has begun in only 6,449 cases and in 4,871 cases, it is yet to start. Trial courts have announced their judgment in only 911 cases or 4% cases only.
Among all the states, Uttar Pradesh police alone registered 3457 reports of child sexual violence of which 1779 cases are still under probe. Madhya Pradesh records second highest number of child abuse cases with 2389 cases but the state police is quick to file charge sheet in MP as they have already filed it in 1841 cases. In MP, trial in child rape cases has been completed in 247 cases.
Need for intervention in shaping concerted, persistent and clear national response, displaying ‘zero tolerance’ for such abhorrent and horrifying behaviour towards our children, by the criminal justice administration and its constituents in India.
States like Rajasthan 1,992; Maharashtra 1,940; West Bengal 1,551; Chhattisgarh 1,285; Karnataka 1,133; Gujarat 1,124; Tamil Nadu 1,043; Kerala1,012; Odisha 1,005; Telangana 928; and Assam 904 are the other states on the list with high reportage of sexual crimes against children. Nagaland recorded the lowest number of child sexual abuse cases at nine.
“Recent reports in both national and international media have sought to highlight an alarming rise in the number of reported child-rape incidents which, the media reports have claimed, suggest that somewhere the deterrent effect of laws and their effective enforcement, to prosecute offenders accused of child-rape, appear to be missing in the scheme of criminal justice administration,” said the bench comprising of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose headed by CJI Gogoi.
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