16 Nov 2023 1:17 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court will be considering a question as to whether victims of sexual assault are to be informed about the provisions of surrender of children, that are born and later given for adoption, in vernacular or spoken language by the Child Welfare Committee before which the proceedings happen.Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma appointed Advocate Kumud Lata Das as amicus curiae while...
The Delhi High Court will be considering a question as to whether victims of sexual assault are to be informed about the provisions of surrender of children, that are born and later given for adoption, in vernacular or spoken language by the Child Welfare Committee before which the proceedings happen.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma appointed Advocate Kumud Lata Das as amicus curiae while dealing with a bail plea moved by a man, accused in a POCSO case, who married a minor girl consensually and a child was born who was surrendered and later given in adoption.
The accused was granted bail by Justice Sharma on October 12. The complaint was registered by the minor victim’s mother in 2021 alleging that the accused had kidnapped her daughter.
The minor was pregnant when she was recovered by the Delhi Police. Thereafter, the accused was arrested in September 2021 and was remanded to judicial custody.
The statement of the victim was recorded before the magistrate wherein she stated that she ran away with the accused on her own free will. Chargesheet in the matter was filed in November 2021.
While granting bail to the accused, Justice Sharma had asked the concerned I.O. to ensure that the entire record of CWC, vide which the child was allegedly surrendered or was given for adoption, is produced.
During the hearing on November 06, the court perused the records of CWC and noted that the application of surrender and its explanation were all written or filled in English language, which everyone is not able to understand.
“The victim herein is not educated. This Court has perused the supplementary statement dated 25.04.2021 of the mother of the victim recorded by the Investigating Officer, who categorically states in her statement that her daughter i.e. victim is illiterate and she knows only Urdu. She also states that that the siblings of victim also know only Urdu language,” the court said.
Justice Sharma observed that it was even more critical that the entire proceedings should have been explained to the minor victim as well as her mother in their vernacular language or the language they speak and understand.
“….and the CWC members, who are expected to show utmost sensitivity and be participating in the proceedings instead of conducting the proceedings in a business-like manner, should have seen that the victim and her mother understood the proceedings that were being conducted,” the court said.
Taking note of the statements recorded before the CWC, the court said that the victim had maintained relationship with the accused out of her own free will and had also opted to continue with the pregnancy.
It also noted that the accused, in the meantime, was in judicial custody and was unaware about the proceedings, including the surrender of the child, before the CWC.
The court appointed the amicus curiae for considering the following issues:
- Is there any procedure adopted by the Child Welfare Committee where the victim of sexual assault cases are informed/explained about the provisions relating to ‘surrender of children’ and consequences of such surrender, in the vernacular language or the language she speaks and understands?
- Who would have been the legal guardian of the child in question, which was surrendered before the Child Welfare Committee, when both the biological father and mother of the child are alive and were in a consensual relationship?
- Whether victim was informed after expiry of two months before giving the child in adoption?
The matter will now be heard on November 22.
Title: AJAY v. STATE (NCT OF DELHI)
Click Here To Read Order