A court in Arunachal Pradesh has drawn criticism over the manner in which it handled a case involving a minor rape survivor from Nepal. The court in Lohit district's Tezu handed over the victim to a "local guardian" who happens to be a relative of the accused.
Allegations On Employer
The girls worked as a domestic help at the house of the accused in Roing, the headquarters of the adjoining Lower Dibang Valley district, reported The New Indian Express. The girl, who is less than 15, was reported missing on March 2.
However, the case took a turn when she told the police that she had been subjected to sexual abuse multiple times by her employer, following which the district Child Welfare Committee put her at a Child Care Institute (CCI).
The court also refused to allow a member of the local Child Care Institute (CCI) to accompany her while recording her statement. The accused was arrested and a charge sheet was filed against him on April 20. But he was out on bail later.
Child Rights Panel Questions Judgement
The Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR) has taken a "grim note" of the decision. The panel also flagged the refusal of the court to let a CCI member of the local Child Care Institute (CCI) accompany her while recording her statement.
APSCPCR Chairperson Gumri Ringu said the judgement could set a "bad precedent" and called it questionable, "particularly because the CCI member or any caretaker of the girl was not allowed in during the hearing." The panel has also taken up the issue with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPR) since the victim is a Nepalese citizen.
Lower Dibang Valley's Superintendent of Police JK Lego said the girl was brought to India from Nepal when she was very small. The sessions court directed the CCI to hand over the victim to a woman, identified as the girl's local guardian. The woman turned out to be the sister-in-law of the accused.