The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul on April 7 heard a petition filed by Gaurav Kumar Bansal who is crying for the appointment of independent public prosecutors in cases of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012.
Bansal has also prayed for fully separate courts, with child-friendly infrastructure and atmosphere for trying cases of the act. This will be different from the Juvenile Justice Courts, which already exist. These new courts should deal with cases pertaining to POCSO Act only.
The court agreed, found the issue to be important enough and issued a Writ of Mandamus to lower authorities, including high courts, to make available such facilities for children regarding this Act.
Regarding his primary plea, the petitioner also said that there were hardly any judges for dealing with such cases in different high courts and other courts. He said he had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2013. In 2015, it was said that a special court and a special judge need to be instituted.
The petitioner’s (he appeared in person) grouse was that to this day no such judge has been appointed. The petitioner wanted the apex court to issue a Writ of Mandamus, directing the different state commissions to appoint an independent public prosecutor as defined under Section 32 of the POCSO Act.
The apex court order said: “The petitioner has invoked the jurisdiction of Delhi High Court. We are satisfied with the petitioner that the issue is very important and needs prompt attention. We, therefore, request the high court of Delhi to expeditiously dispose of the writ petition.
“We also have perused the different annexures where it was shown that public prosecutor has not been appointed in various states, such as Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Tripura, Haryana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar,” the order said.
“We consider it just appropriate to require the registry of this court to transfer to registrar general of the different states and the chief justice of respective high courts to take a suo motu (action) to implement Section 32 of POCSO Act 2012, to appoint independent public prosecutor.
“The high Courts should also examine the available infrastructure, so that a child-friendly atmosphere is provided where the case pertaining to above will be dealt with.”
—By India Legal Bureau