In a plea filed by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO defending the rights of the child, requesting instructions from the authorities concerned to urgently implement the guarantees available in child protection legislation, The Supreme Court on Wednesday challenged all state/union territory governments to the proceedings before it.
A bench comprising Judges Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian directed that state/UT governments be served through their permanent councils.
Among other things, Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s petition filed in the public interest alleges that the failure of state authorities to implement the provisions of child protection laws has led to the widespread violation of the rights rights of child victims. The petition laments that although in 2013 the Supreme Court ordered the appointment of paralegal volunteers to police stations to oversee how complaints of missing children and other offenses against children are handled, said guarantee has not yet been adopted. . Addressing the issue of the lack of uniform criteria for calculating and awarding compensation in POCSO cases, which has resulted in victims of sexual assault not being compensated or receiving only meager compensation , she cites an order of the Supreme Court of 13.11.2019, in which the instructions were issued to the Union government to review the compensation, rehabilitation, welfare and education program for victims of the POCSO , 2019.
The petition requests that instructions be given to state legal services authorities to appoint paralegal volunteers in each respective state police station to assist with cases of offenses against children; bailiffs to take immediate action on requests filed under Section 156(3) Cr.PC in POCSO cases; to central government and NALSA to notify the POCSO Compensation, Rehabilitation, Welfare and Education Scheme; state governments to strictly adhere to the timeframes mentioned in the POCSO Act and in case of inability to do the same, the reasons for failure should be sent to higher authorities.
This petition, in particular, brings to light the agony of a 13-year-old Dalit girl child who was brutally gang-raped last year, in Lalitpur, UP. In his case, the petition claims that the police department failed in its obligation to register the FIR. In addition, they had threatened the girl and her family with disastrous consequences. On 23.11.2021 a complaint was sent to Superintendent of Police Lalitpur for FIR registration. Due to the inaction of the police services, the mother of the young girl was forced to file a request, on 21.11.2021, before the ADJ to have the FIR registered. From November 2021 to March 2022, no action was taken by either the police or the ADJ. On 22.03.2022, a letter was sent to the Prime Minister informing him of the harassment inflicted on the girl and her family members. In this regard, a complaint was also filed with the court of first instance. According to the petitioner, on 22.04.2022 the child was again abducted by four men; taken to Bhopal and repeatedly raped. A missing child complaint was filed on 23.04.2022, but no FIR was registered, which is contrary to the Supreme Court’s directive that the FIR must be registered within 24 hours of receipt of a missing child complaint. When the child was taken to the police station by her aunt, she was raped by SHO, Pali. Subsequently, when the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Lalitpur intervened, on 03.05.2022, an FIR was filed. The National Commission for Human Rights, on 04.05.2022, learned suo moto of the case. The defendants, including the SHO, were arrested and taken into custody. As a result, the NGO had sent a letter to CWC, Lalitpur for the appointment of a support person which was granted. However, the mother’s interim compensation claim was not accepted by the POCSO Tribunal, Lalitpur and the special relief claim under Rule 8 of the POCSO Rules, 2020 is also pending before the CWC.
In this regard, the motion seeks the indulgence of the Supreme Court to, among others, transfer criminal cases to Delhi with instructions for a speedy trial; order agencies to provide immediate treatment, counselling, rehabilitation and compensation to the victim in accordance with the various compensation schemes; order the state government to take action against offending officials; give instructions for extending protection and other facilities to the victim and his family members.
The next hearing date for the case is September 1.
[Case Title: Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. UoI And Ors. WP(C) No. 427/2022]