TODAY -

Low conviction rate diluting object of POCSO Act
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 07, 2022 -



As accentuated by High Court of Manipur chief justice Sanjay Kumar at the state level consultation programme on 'Implementation of POCSO Act 2012' held on Saturday, every citizen ought to report cases of any sexual assault on person below 18 years of age to the authority concerned for perpetrators of such crimes do not deserve any sort of leniency.

In his address to the gathering during the discourse organised by the High Court, Sanjay Kumar emphasised on role of the concerned citizens to make the POCSO Act, 2012 serve the purpose of its enactment.

While incorporation of provisions in POCSO Act for keeping identity of the victims confidential should be enough to encourage the victims' parties to lodge report at the soonest possible, the chief justice's admission, with reference to a ministry report regarding 47,221 POCSO cases pending in the courts corroborates low rate of conviction, and its consequential effect deterring the aggrieved parties to seek justice legitimately.

However, seriousness and gravity of crime against under-aged victims in Manipur cannot be undermined for official records confirm registration of 29 cases and submission of 32 charge-sheets in 2017 with occurrences of such ghastly acts showing an increasing trend in the next five-year span.

Amid the rising cases of crimes for which the POCSO Act was actually formulated to prevent and penalise criminally inclined elements, it is the low rate of filing charge-sheets and procedural delay in punishing the guilty ones which should be of concern for the legal professionals and worrisome for the aggrieved parties.

It needs no reminding that cases of sexual assault or harassment against minors would continue if the victim parties or the rights groups keep such crimes under wrap owing to either out of court agreement with the perpetrators or due to exhaustive legal process.

Scepticism over the belated justice delivery system is one of the reasons why the various provisions for protection of minors and punishment of perpetrators of such crimes remain unutilised in some cases.

Another factor for the victim parties' reluctance to approach the court of law is that the perpetrators too would be put on trial under the same law as the victims and somewhat manage to prolong issuance of the final verdict.

Nevertheless, it is imperative that any case of sexual assault or harassment against minor should be reported to the authority concerned and have trust in the law of the land to deliver justice for there is no other legitimate option other than keeping faith in the judiciary system.

When the insurgency movement was at its peak some years back, families of rape and murder victims as well as survivors had no hesitancy in placing the crime in the public domain for they believed that the perpetrators would be promptly punished even if the retributive acts were carried out by outlawed organisations.

Thus, it is suggested that the chief justice's emphasis on psychological therapy and medical intervention to prevent sexual assault against minor as well as expeditious investigation by the law enforcement agencies be accorded importance by the stakeholders concerned.



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