support persons to POCSO victims

Supreme Court: The Division Bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar, JJ. Recently opined that the need for support person should not be left to parents’ discretion, and that the State has the obligation to provide support persons to victims under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘2012’), which cannot be made optional.

The Court highlighted that in Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1031, the Principal Secretary to the Department of Women and Child Welfare in Uttar Pradesh was required to convene a meeting and review the facts, take action, and frame rules/ guidelines with regard to various aspects. The Ministry of Women and Child Development of Central Government was also directed to bring the said judgment to the notice of NCPCR, which was followed by NCPCR filing affidavit outlining the steps taken, and the State of UP also filed an affidavit disclosing the supplementary guidelines formulated after the Court’s order on availability of support person.

The Court opined that the need for support person should not be left to parents’ discretion, and the option of availability of support person and right to claiming assistance of such support person should be conveyed to the parents of the victims. The Court therefore suggested for the various enumerations to be only considered as broad guidelines being illustrative but not exhaustive. It further added that “The State has an obligation to provide support persons to POCSO victims which cannot be made optional.”

The Court directed NCPCR to formulate model guidelines after due consultation with the Central and State Governments for the States and Union Territories to frame their rules respecting the support persons under Section 39 of POCSO Act. And that NCPCR may formulate draft guidelines to be circulated to all the States, which may be finalised after due consideration of their comments and suggestions.

The Court further directed NCPCR to delete any reference to name of the child or victim having regard to the provisions of POCSO Act and Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act.

[We The Women of India v. Union of India, Civil Writ Petition No. 1156 of 2021, Order dated 9-10-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate on Record Shobha Gupta, Advocate Aditya Ranjan, Advocate Tarjana Rai, Advocate Jessy Kurian, Senior Advocate H.S. Phoolka, Advocate Jagjit Singh Chhabra, Advocate Rachana Tyagi, Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, Advocate Saksham Maheshwari, Advocate Shashi, Advocate Taruna Panwar, Advocate Shaivya Saluja, Advocate Surpreet Kaur

For Respondent: Advocate on Record Gurmeet Singh Makker, Advocate Deepabali Dutta, Advocate Chinmayee Chandra, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, Advocate Shagun Thakur, Advocate Ameyavikrama Thanvi, Advocate Manisha Chava, Advocate on Record Arvind Kumar Sharma, Advocate Praveena Gautam, Advocate Bhuvan Kapoor, Advocate Aman Sharma, Advocate Ruchi Kohli, Additional Advocate General Garima Prasad, Advocate on Record Rohit K. Singh, Advocate Pritam Bishwas, Advocate Vijay Kumar, Advocate on Record Gaurav Agrawal, Advocate on Record Vanshaja Shukla, Advocate on Record Pradeep Misra, Advocate Daleep Dhyani, Advocate Suraj Singh, Advocate Bhuwan Chandra, Advocate Manoj Kumar Sharma, Advocate on Record Sahil Bhalaidwcw state of upk, Advocate Tushar Giri, Advocate Siddharth Anil Khanna, Advocate on Record Abhimanyu Tewari, Advocate Eliza Barr, Advocate on Record Debojit Borkakati, Advocate on Record Abhinav Mukerji, Advocate Bihu Sharma, Advocate Pratishtha Vij, Advocate Mohit Prasad, Advocate on Record Swati Ghildiyal, Advocate Devyani Bhatt, Senior Additional Advocate General Lokesh Sinhal, Advocate on Record Dr. Monika Gusain, Advocate on Record D. L. Chidananda, Advocate on Record Nishe Rajen Shonker, Advocate on Record Anu K Joy, Advocate Abraham Mathew, Advocate Alim Anvar, Advocate on Record Aaditya Aniruddha Pande, Advocate Siddharth Dharmadhikari, Advocate Sourav Singh, Advocate Aditya Krishna, Advocate Siddhesh Shirish Kotwal, Advocate Ana Upadhyay, Advocate Manya Hasija, Advocate Tejasvi Gupta, Advocate Pawan Upadhyay, Advocate on Record Nirnimesh Dube, Advocate on Record Pukhrambam Ramesh Kumar, Advocate on Record K. Enatoli Sema, Advocate Limayinla Jamir, Advocate Amit Kumar Singh, Advocate Chubalemla Chang, Advocate Prang Newmai, Advocate on Record Ajay Pal, Advocate Mayank Dahiya, Advocate Sugandh Rathor, Senior Advocate Dr. Manish Singhvi, Advocate on Record Sandeep Kumar Jha, Advocate Shubhangi Agarwal, Advocate on Record Sameer Abhyankar, Advocate Nishi Sangtani, Advocate Vani Vandana Chhetri, Advocate Naman Jain, Additional Advocate General Amit Anand Tiwari, Advocate on Record Sabarish Subramanian, Advocate Devyani Gupta, Advocate Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Advocate C Kranti Kumar, Advocate Naman Dwivedi, Advocate Danish Saifi, Advocate Tanvi Anand, Advocate Sri Harsha Peechara, Advocate Duvvuri Subrahmanya Bhanu, Advocate Pallavi, Advocate Kriti Sinha, Advocate on Record Rajiv Kumar Choudhry, Advocate on Record Shreekant Neelappa Terdal, Advocate on Record Aravindh S., Advocate Abbas, Advocate on Record K. Enatoli Sema, Advocate on Record Mahfooz Ahsan Nazki, Advocate on Record Dr. Joseph Aristotle S., Advocate on Record Gaurav Agrawal, Advocate on Record Abhinav Mukerji, Advocate Bihu Sharma, Advocate Mohit Prasad, Advocate Pratishtha Vij, Advocate on Record Pritha Srikumar Iyer, Advocate Diya Kapur, Advocate Nimisha Menon, Advocate Ragini Nagpal, Advocate Abhinav Sekhri, Advocate Saumya Sinha, Advocate on Record Swarupama Chaturvedi, Advocate Saumya Kapoor, Advocate Katyari Anand, Advocate Aayush Shivam, Advocate Saravjeet Singh, Advocate on Record S. Udaya Kumar Sagar, Advocate on Record Avijit Mani Tripathi, Advocate Upendra Mishra, Advocate P.S. Negi, Advocate T.K. Nayak, Senior Advocate General Anup Rattan, Advocate on Record Rajiv Kumar Sinha, Advocate Raj Kumar, Advocate Kapil Sahni

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