Children Waiting For Justice Under POCSO In Arunachal, Gujarat, Manipur May Have To Wait 200 Years: Report
In the recent past, increasing number of sexual assault cases against minors have come out in the open. The horrific details of the Kathua rape case are still fresh wounds, the chilling details of the murder of the girl in Surat with 86 wounds on her body are still enraging the public. Several legal provisions have been formulated and implemented to control this abhorrent crime, yet it doesn’t cease to exist.
Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation launched The Children Cannot Wait, a research on the number of cases of pending trials in child abuse cases in India. A quick look at the highlights of the report shows that as per NCRB data, over 1 lakh cases are pending as of 2016.
The report hypothetically assumes that if no cases are lodged under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act from now on, the pending cases will get resolution after many many years.
- States with the lowest pendency are Punjab, Nagaland and Chandigarh, where children may see justice in 2018.
- Children in Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Dadra and Nagar Haveli may see justice in 2019.
- In states like Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand, justice can only be served from 2020 and in Goa and Mizoram children have to wait till 2021.
- In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, victims can hope for justice in 2026.
- In Delhi and Bihar, a child has to wait till 2029, while in Maharashtra a victim has to wait till 2032. They have to wait till 2035 for justice in West Bengal.
- The wait is prolonged till 2055 in Andaman and Nicobar, 2048 in Manipur, and 2039 in Kerala.
- The states with the highest pendency are Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh –justice may be delivered in 2071 in Gujarat and 2117 in Arunachal Pradesh.
Reasons for such delay
The number of cases registered and the pending cases from the previous year make up for trial in any given year. The report found that the percentage of cases in which trials have been completed is a mere one-tenth of the total cases under trial.
If the rate of disposition of cases by the Court as per 2016 is taken into consideration, then Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Manipur may take more than 200 years to dispose of all cases.
The report finds another worrisome data. “The number of pending cases during 2015 has increased by 37% over 2014 (increased from 52,309 in 2014 to 71,552 in 2015). However, the same during 2016 has increased at 26% (increased from 71,552 in 2015 to 89,999 in 2016).”
Conviction rates are low too. Conviction under POCSO remained constant at 30% during 2014-16. However, it registered an increase of 6% during 2015.
The Logical Indian take
Children are not even safe in places they should be – schools, colleges or home. Abuse can happen anywhere. Nobel peace laureate, Kailash Satyarthi asks, “Do you think that a 15-year-old girl abused today will be attending court hearings when she turns 60?” This is the problem with our country. Justice delayed is justice denied. Sexual abuse of children affects their mental growth.
These children show fear and anxiety in response to people resembling the accused. They grow up with trust issues. The trauma might often lead to psychological disorders. In the longer run, it can cause anxiety-related issues, self-destructive behaviours such as alcoholism or drug abuse, anxiety attacks, and insomnia.
The trauma of the abuse will never go away. At least a fair trial and judgement can ease the pain and restore their faith in the judiciary and humanity.