A grand state- level consultation on "Effective implementation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012- Reflection on Progress, Challenges, Opportunities and Way Forward" was organized by the Juvenile Justice Committee and POCSO Committee, High Court of Jharkhand in association with Department of Women, Child Development and Social Security, Govt. of Jharkhand and in collaboration with UNICEF, India at Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Auditorium, Judicial Academy, Jharkhand on 19th of November, 2022.
The Consultation was attended by the Judges of the High Court, Senior bureaucrats of the State of Jharkhand, including Department of Home, Health, Education and Department of Women, Child Development, Department of Social Security DWCD and other distinguished dignitaries including Vice- Chancellor, NUSRL Ranchi. The Consultation addressed about 300 participants from all Districts of Jharkhand, including Judicial Officers (POCSO Special Judges, DLSA Secretaries and Principal Magistrates, JJB), D.C., D.D.C, S.P., CID Officers, members of Special Juvenile Police Unit, Civil Surgeons, DSWO, Child Welfare Committee members, Juvenile Justice Board members, and State Forensic Science Laboratory, Jharkhand State Child Protection Society of Government of Jharkhand, Block Resource persons, members of UNICEF, Principals, teachers, Para-legal volunteers faculty, students from NUSRL, Ranchi and other participants.
This consultation was organized upon the recommendation of Juvenile Justice Committee, Supreme Court of India. The Chief Guest of the Consultation was Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh, Judge and Chairperson, Juvenile Justice Committee, High Court of Jharkhand. Guest of Honor for the event was Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad, Judge and Chairperson, POCSO Committee, High Court of Jharkhand and Special Guest –Justice Anil Kumar Choudhary, Judge and Member, POCSO Committee, High Court of Jharkhand.
There were three Technical Sessions in the Consultation, Chaired by
Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary, Judge and Member Juvenile Justice Committee, High Court of Jharkhand
Justice Anil Kumar Choudhary, Judge and Member, POCSO Committee, High Court of Jharkhand.
Justice Deepak Roshan, Judge and Member Juvenile Justice Committee, High Court of Jharkhand
Key Highlights of the speech of Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh
The entire society has the duty to ensure safe living of child- for the better future of nation and every stakeholder has a significant role to play under the POCSO framework.
The Home Affairs department should ensure regular appointments of Special Public Prosecutors.
Child Care Institutions (CCI) should be properly equipped with adequate manpower and infrastructure.
Education Department should ensure dissemination of information about POCSO and drug abuse in schools and institutions.
JHALSA should work together with district legal services authorities to ensure that victims compensation should be dispensed with, in timely manner.
Para-legal Volunteers (Support Persons) should be deputed in every Police Station.
Counsellors should be appointed in every district to ensure child- friendly procedure in POCSO proceedings
Key Highlights of the speech of Justice S.N. Prasad
It has been a decade since the enactment of POCSO Act and though there has been progress, we still have a long way to go.
Delay in payment of compensation by the state authorities.
Delay in trials despite the specific statutory mandate of Section 35, POCSO Act, 2012.
The state should ensure that FSL departments are adequately equipped and have sufficient manpower.
The courts should give expansive meaning to the term, 'abuse' contained in the POCSO Act.
All the stakeholders under the POCSO Act should work together to ensure that the objectives of POCSO Act are met.
Key Highlights of the speech of Justice Anil Kumar Choudhary
POCSO Act was enacted to ensure speedy disposal of cases of sexual offences against children.
The Jharkhand Judiciary has actively played it's role in Implementing the POCSO Act in letter in spirit. Even in the COVID-19 Phase, we disposed off more that 6000 cases, with compensation being provided to 927 victims.
Further, the medical officers should also not issue vague reports. The state should ensure the safety of medical officers so that they are not forced to issue vague reports.
The Multi Stakeholder State Consultation was a huge success with active participation of officers from all Departments as it was the need of the hour, being ten years of the enactment POCSO Act, 2012. The role of every stakeholder was reiterated in the Consultation and the way forward was also deliberated upon in detail. This Consultation was to define and discuss the best practices in the State of Jharkhand in relation to POCSO Matters and we look forward to the National Consultation of Juvenile Justice Committee, Supreme Court of India in New Delhi next month.