Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Delhi HC defers hearing after Delhi govt seeks time on appointing APPs in fast track courts for POCSO, rape cases

The Delhi High Court deferred the hearing to August 31 after Delhi Government sought time to file a reply in compliance with the Court's last order

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The Delhi High Court today adjourned a petition seeking creation and appointment to the post of Additional Public Prosecutors (APPs) in the fast-track special courts functioning in the capital for trial of cases relating to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and rape.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh deferred the hearing to August 31 after Santosh Kumar Tripathi, Standing Counsel for Delhi Government, sought time from the Court to file a reply in compliance with the last order. 

Mr Tripathi submitted that the earlier proposal for creation of 73 additional posts was rejected by the Administrative Department of Government and a fresh proposal for 18 posts as moved by the Directorate of Prosecution, has been accepted and is in the process of implementation. 

Per contra, Senior Counsel Ashish Mohan, appearing for the petitioner association, informed the court that there is an additional requirement of 73 APPs for speedy trial in 55 POCSO courts that have been set up across the capital and thereby, the proposal was moved by the Office of Directorate of Prosecution.

He urged the Court that reply should be filed by the state to clearly indicate the number of appointments proposed to be made in the special courts dealing with rape and POCSO cases.

Earlier, the Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh directed the Delhi Government to stipulate clearly the time frame, within which the notification inviting applications for appointment to the post of APPs be issued.

Filed by the Delhi Prosecutors Welfare Association through Advocates Kushal Kumar, Aditya Kapoor, Harsh Ahuja and Akashdeep Gupta, the plea stated that in 2019, the Supreme Court had directed the Department of Prosecution to set up special POCSO courts in each district with more than 100 cases under the POCSO Act.

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The plea sought direction to the government to create and make appointments to these additional posts. It said the Directorate of Prosecution proposed creation of posts of additional public prosecutors and also sent a proposal for the creation of two such posts in each fast-track and POSCO court.

In addition, the petition contended that presently, 55 fast-track and POCSO courts are functioning with 37 PPs, which is leading to overburdening of the prosecution and an increase in the pendency of rape and POCSO cases.

“Such a shortage of APPs is having adverse effects on criminal justice system and the whole objective of establishing Fast Track Special courts for the trial of sensitive matters is being defeated by such shortage,” noted the plea.

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