The Delhi High Court has directed the Registrar General to once again circulate the Practice Directions dated 24th September 2019 as well as the direction of the HC in Reena Jha & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors. to all the District Judges and Session Judges to deal with matters of sexual offenses under Sections 376(3), 376-AB, 376-DA and 376-DB of Indian Penal Code and the courts dealing with cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
A single-judge bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi of Delhi High Court while conducting hearing through video conferencing also noted that Registrar General shall ensure that the name of the judicial officer against whose order the present petition has been filed, does not figure anywhere while circulating the directions.
The Court passed its order on the plea filed by Advocate Ms. Tara Narula challenging the order passed by Session Judge releasing a person accused under section 376 IPC and Section 4 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012on interim bailfor one month without the issuance of a notice on the application.
Ms. Tara Narula informed India Legal that “Court granted interim bail to a person accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in the presence of her sister. Whereas, the law dictates that notice of the bail application must be given by police and court to the victims of rape and sexual assault under POCSO before hearing the bail, but the same was not done.”
“During the lockdown, the duty sessions courts have been passing bail orders in POCSO without notice. In our analysis, of about 83 orders between 18 April and 30 April, Complainant was not present in 80 and no notice seems to have been given as per the orders available online.” Ms. Tara further stated.
The 11-year-old victim was receiving legal and psycho-social support from HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, an organization working for the protection of Child Rights.
Ms. Tara submitted before the court, “District Courts at Delhi are passing bail orders without adhering to the mandatory requirement of issuance of notice to the complainant/ first informant or authorized person in the first instance.”
Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent and the State submitted that directions of this Court in Reena Jha & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors. and the practice directions are being followed in its true letter and spirit and these directions will also be brought to the notice of the Investigating Officers concerned for strict compliance thereof.
The Court has also directed that mobile number of Beat Constable, W/ASI, Division Officer as well as SHO be provided to the petitioner. The matter is listed for hearing on 22nd May 2020.
Read full order here;63974_2020
-India Legal Bureau