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Child rights panel bats for speedy disposal of cases

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 Aug 2016 12:00 AM GMT

A CORRESPONDENT

SHILLONG, Aug 22: The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) in Meghalaya has called for speedy disposal of cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012. According to the chairperson of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), Mee Kharkongor, in the state there are around 451 cases of crime against children pending with the District Council Court of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and also Special Courts to try the offences under the POCSO Act. In the state there are six Special Courts dealing with cases under POCSO-East Khasi Hills, West Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, West Khasi Hills, West Garo Hills and East Garo Hills. As per data available with the SCPCR of Meghalaya, for the year 2016 in the district council court of the KHADC there are 133 pending cases while in the Special Courts till February this year there are 318 pending cases. From among the various cases, the commission chairperson said as per the February data, convictions have taken place in only four cases, two each in East Khasi Hills and West Khasi Hills. As per the Meghalaya police statistics, in 2015, there were 257 cases, which were registered under crimes against children. Of the 257 cases, 118 were registered under the POCSO Act. Until June this year, the statistics reveal that 115 cases were registered under crimes against children, and out of these, 54 cases were under the POCSO Act. Kharkongor, though acknowledging that the District and Session Judge Court, which are desigted Special Courts to try cases under POCSO are over burdened however said, “Cases of crime against children should be given top priority.”

Under POCSO there is provision wherein cases should be disposed off within one year from the date of taking cognisance of the offence. However as per data available pending cases date back to 2012.

The SCPCR, Chairperson said that the commission was worried that delay in giving justice to the young girls, they may face traumas as they grow older, since they have to keep going to the courts.

Kharkongor also called for the setting up of the Directorate of Prosecution.

Though the State government had approved to set up the Directorate of Prosecution in April 15, 2008, but eight years later it has not been set up.

She also urged the setting up of a functioning forensic laboratory even as she pointed to the need for professiol counsellors to deal with a traumatized child.

As per the plan of the government, the Directorate of Prosecution would be responsible for conducting the prosecution in all the courts in the State and would have the liberty of scrutinizing the evidence in all the cases prior to their filing in the courts.

Kharkongor also said that there was a need for community participation and also to introduce sex education in schools to tackle crimes against children.

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