Guidelines Issued for Investigation and Trial of POCSO Cases: Kerala HC

Team SoOLEGAL 11 Sep 2020 4:29pm

Guidelines Issued for Investigation and Trial of POCSO Cases: Kerala HC

The High Court of Kerala has issued general guidelines to be followed by the Investigating Authorities and Trial Courts while dealing with POCSO crimes and cases, including special training for officers so that they are open to such sensitive situations. The court also demanded the requisite briefing and training for all the nodal agencies dealing with such cases.

Justice PB Suresh Kumar has issued the guidelines while rejecting an appeal lodged in a POCSO case by a convict. While addressing the issue, he acknowledged that the mechanism in place to investigate child sexual abuse cases were fraught with shortcomings. He said it is the scheme of the said statute that the children who have been sexually abused are not subjected to secondary victimization in the course of the justice delivery process."

Considering these issues, the Court has now issued directions including:

1.     The state government should appoint a nodal officer to coordinate between the different departments for the implementation of the POCSO Act within two months. The officer can address questions and serve as a single-point contact with the government.

2.     The state government has to fill out vacancies in forensic science laboratories immediately so that inquiries and trials in POCSO cases are not affected.

3.     The state government should immediately take measures to make One-Stop Support Centers operational as ordered by the Supreme Court, so that victims do not need to travel elsewhere.

4.     The nodal officer should organize training of different stakeholders on the principles of juvenile justice, including the police. POCSO court judges and special prosecutors should also be trained.

5.     The state government must consider establishing the position of Child Protection Officers and Child Welfare Officers in the police as a separate structure so that they may operate in that capacity wherever they are posted. If not, ensure that these officers are posted in each police station.

6.     The victim statements must be audio or video recorded by a magistrate or a police officer.

7.     The Chief of the State Police shall nominate a woman IPS officer in each district to ensure that cases under the POCSO Act comply with the requirements of the Act. This officer shall ensure that the investigation is undertaken only by officers trained on the principles of juvenile justice.

Senior Public Prosecutor Mr. Suman Chakravarthy, Advocate Manu S (for the Kerala State Legal Services Authority), Special Government Pleader Ambika Devi, Public Prosecutor B Jayasurya, Advocate CP Udayabhanu (for the appellant) and Advocates Sandhya Raju and Ranjith Marar appeared in the case.

Tagged: Kerala High Court   POCSO Cases   POCSO crimes   Justice PB Suresh Kumar   child sexual abuse cases   Supreme Court  
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