Bengaluru: This is a statistic that would make the judiciary hang its head in shame – the pendency rate in the cases of sexual offences against children registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) in the city alone has risen to nearly 80 percent since 2012.
The number of convictions is a cruel joke. It is a mere 67, while the number of genuine POCSO cases reported since 2012 is whopping 1,600 and the number of cases pending trial are 1,157.
This means, the Apex court’s recent orders to speed up POCSO trial has had little effect.
It is evident by the number of convictions in POCSO cases in 2018, which is a big zero. Of 1,023 POCSO cases reported in the state, out of which 207 are from Bengaluru, none of them led to convictions or were disposed of.
While out of 207 cases, 132 are pending trials and as many as 75 cases in the last seven months are still under investigation.
This deplorable condition persists even after the Apex court instructed the High Courts to ensure that the cases registered under the POCSO Act are tried and disposed of by the Special Courts and to ensure speedy trial by not granting unnecessary adjournments and following the procedure laid down in the POCSO Act. The courts need to complete the trial in a time-bound manner or within a specific time frame under the Act.
The pendency rate in POCSO trials in the city has been increasing at an alarming rate every passing year and the numbers are startling. Out of six POCSO cases reported in 2012, five are still pending trial and one ended up in conviction.
Similarly, the year 2013 recorded 130 cases of which 53 cases are pending trials, 16 led to convictions and 55 ended up in acquittal.
In 2014, the number of cases jumped to over double to 293. However, the convictions were just 28 and 96 cases were disposed off and at the end of the year 160 cases were pending trials.
Though the number of cases in 2015 reduced marginally to 273, the convictions were abysmal 10 and pendency rose sharply to 199. Fifty five cases were disposed of.
In 2016, 301 POCSO cases were reported and the conviction could not reach even double digits and stood at four, while 28 cases were disposed of. Shockingly, as many as 263 cases were pending trials at the end of the year.
The year 2017 was equally shameful for the state with only eight convictions, while the number of cases registered under POCSO rose to 390. The police investigation too took a back seat in 2017 as they could not complete the investigation in 18 cases.
The dismal numbers continue in 2018 as they could not complete the investigation in 75 cases out of 207. While none of the cases ended up in convictions or acquittals, as many as 132 cases are pending trials till July 31.
Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Seemanth Kumar Singh said that a combination of efforts was needed to make the POCSO cases reach its logical conclusion and the police were doing its best to ensure that the cases stand in the court.
“As per the Supreme Court guidelines, the police have revamped its investigation process and are filing chargesheets within stipulated time. The police officers investigating POCSO cases are trained to handle such cases sensitively,” Singh told Deccan Chronicle.
According to experts, the long-pendency in trials, especially in POCSO cases, lead to low convictions. By the time the cases come to the courts after a series of adjournments due to various reasons, including witnesses turning hostile or threatened to change the statements or victim changing their statement out of fear.
Note from Kannada.Club :
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