Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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WHAT IS THE PETITION ABOUT? ·

  • Recently, a petition in the form of letter was written to the Chief Justice of India. Mohit Kumar Gupta, the lawyer and author of the letter, represents child victims.
  • The petition was filed on behalf of the ‘Neglected Children’.
  • The petition addresses the issue of systemic non-exercise of suo-moto jurisdiction by Special Courts (POCSO) in granting Interim Compensation under Section 33 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
  • Petition refers to the recent horrific incident of sexual assault against a 12-year-old minor in Delhi. The petition notes the appalling nature of the crime, lacuna in investigation and compensation.  The crime has been being compared to horrendous chronicles of Nirbhaya and Gudiya cases.

ISSUES UNDERLINED IN THE PETITION:

  • The petition mentions issues such as delay in investigation. It highlights serious lacunas on the part of investigating officer (IO)and lack of monetary compensation being awarded to victim.
  • The petition reads as “…deepening want of immediate judicial intervention to give effect to the notion of relief and rehabilitation to the victim child by way of grant of interim victim compensation, monetary as well as non-monetary, by acting suo-moto and against the prevalent practices of waiting for some individual or private entity or state agency to file an application seeking compensation, with continuing wait being gestated till the completion of prosecution evidence if the child victim witness in the case being prosecuted, before the actual disposal of such application.”

QUESTION OF LAW RAISED IN THE PETITION: 

  • Whether Special Court established under POCSO Act, 2012, is bound to initiate suo-moto proceedings for grant of interim compensation to the child victim upon receipt of report forwarded by IO u/s. 157 of CRPC?
  • Whether interim/final compensation u/s. 33 of POCSO Rules, 2020 cannot be lowered further than the minimum compensation stipulated in the Victim Compensation Scheme?
  • Whether delay in forwarding report u/s. 157 CrPC, 1973 to concerned jurisdictional magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence would be considered as prejudice towards victim of crime in  matters  of  victim  compensation requiring the state to compensate as well as an infraction of public duty obliged upon the IO in the matter of service rules applicable thereupon?
  • Whether time limits shall be imposed upon the disposal of an application seeking interim compensation u/s. 33 POCSO Act, 2012 r/w Rule 9 of POCSO Rules, 2020 by Special Court established under POCSO?

CONCLUSION:

  • The petitioner prayed before the Apex Court to dispense substantial “Access to Justice” which should be realized for the child victims who are neglected by the virtue of our present system.
  • Child victims shall be treated as an important stakeholder at pre-trial stages in criminal proceedings, especially concerning the grant of interim compensation.
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