Bombay High Court: Bharati Dangre, J. while adjudicating a bail application which dealt with an unfortunate incident of a girl (14 years) alleged to have been sexually ravaged by the applicant, expressed disappointment over the snail speed of the trial. The Court emphasized on the purpose of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 which came to be enacted by establishing special courts for trial of such offences.
The girl later had given birth to a child and the APP was directed to ascertain the status of the trial. The Court reminded that it was only when the writ was issued by this Court, the trial commenced with a snail speed, with a result that as on date only one witness has been examined in the current case. The statement of the victim girl itself came to be recorded after five years. It was further added that the pace of the trial was defeating the very purpose of the POCSO Act. The Court mentioned that the manner in which the Special Courts are proceeding with the POCSO trial, dealing with the offenders under the Special Statute, enacted with a specific avowed purpose, to prevent exploitation of minor/children and punish the offenders itself is being defeated by the procedure that is adopted by the Special Courts.
The Court was disturbed by the fact that only one Court is a Special Court for trying the offences under the POCSO Act, whereas other Courts which are assigned with POCSO cases are also required to take some other assignment. The Court directed Principal Judge of the Court of Sessions at Greater Mumbai, to submit a report about the pending POCSO cases in Mumbai and also provide the details about how many POCSO Courts were designated as ‘Special Courts' along with number of cases pending with these Courts. The in-charge Judge was also asked to submit a report about the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors in the POCSO Court as well as compliances which were mandated, including the interpreter or expert as contemplated under section 38 of the POCSO Act.
[Azaruddin N. Mirsilkar v. State of Maharashtra, Bail Application No.466 of 2021, decided on 21-06-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Ms Aishwarya Agarwal with Azimuddin N. Kazi, Advocate, for the Applicant;
Mrs Anamika Malhotra, APP, for the State
*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.