By Sumit Saxena
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday expressed deep concern at the poor disposal rate of child rape cases. Only 4 per cent of the 24,212 cases registered since January 2019 have been disposed off. In case of Delhi, merely two of the 729 cases have been disposed off.
Many states, which have documented registration of child rape cases between 900 to 1,000 in past six months, have disposal percentage between zero to six. These states include Telangana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Assam.
The data presents a dismal picture on the progress of trial and the legal apparatus to address child rape cases.
The court appointed amicus curiae, senior advocate V Giri, submitted the state-wise data in connection with the sexual abuse of children. At 3,457, Uttar Pradesh has the highest child rape cases registered since the beginning of the year. Of this, only 3 per cent have been disposed off.
With 2,389 cases Madhya Pradesh is at the second spot and a shade better than UP in disposal rate at 10 per cent.
Nagaland registered only nine cases, the least in the country. Chandigarh has the highest disposal rate of 41 per cent in 29 cases registered, followed by Chhattisgarh with 10 per cent in 1,285 cases.
A Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta, expressed anguish at the poor disposal rate and directed the registry to collate district-wise data from the registrars of high courts on the pending child rape cases and also quantify the time consumed in the trial of these cases.
The court has set July 15 as the next date of hearing in the case.
The district-wise data will help the court in developing a concerted and clear response to address the issue at the national level. The apex court also registered a suo motu writ petition under the caption “Re-alarming rise in the number of reported child rape incidents.”
Giri informed the court despite its orders designated special courts had not been set up for cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO), and the data suggested that states were yet to notify POSCO courts in all districts. There are 725 districts in the country.
Stressing a robust strategy to address lagging trials in POSCO matters, Giri said sensitisation of judges was mandatory along with appointment of special public prosecutors.
A lawyer familiar with developments on the matter said investigations in POSCO cases were supposed to be completed in two months and the trial in one year.
However, the court did not specify the year, as the benchmark, for collection of data on the POSCO cases, which came into force in 2012.
(Sumit saxena can be contacted at [email protected])