12 Oct 2021 12:44 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday was alarmed by the increasing number of cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in the State and the absence of a procedure to protect children from these offences or threats from the perpetrators.Justice Devan Ramachandran while hearing a plea raised by a victim and her mother seeking police protection in a POCSO...
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday was alarmed by the increasing number of cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in the State and the absence of a procedure to protect children from these offences or threats from the perpetrators.
Justice Devan Ramachandran while hearing a plea raised by a victim and her mother seeking police protection in a POCSO matter citing that they were being threatened by the perpetrator, expressed his concern over the lack of a victim protection programme:
"It is high time that we implement a victim protection scheme in the State. Right now, it only exists on paper; it has not been implemented yet. If this happened in any other country, the victim would have been protected and hidden away by now."
The Court accordingly issued directions to the police to ensure that the victim and her family were adequately protected from any threat to their lives from the accused or his family members. The accused is a relative of the victim.
With the said direction, the matter was listed for hearing on November 2nd.
Although the accused was acquitted in the matter, the victim's family has been attempting to file an appeal against the acquittal. Under such circumstances, the accused and his family allegedly started threatening the victim to not take the matter forward.
Accordingly, a plea for police protection was filed through Advocate P.M Rafiq and Advocate Ajith Thomas.
The plea claims that they had made representations to the local police and the District Police Chief seeking protection for the victim and her family's lives and property, but no response was received and hence, they were prompted to move the Court.
In another matter taken up by the Court, the judge reiterated the same issue. This was in a plea filed by a survivor of sexual attack who approached the Court alleging harassment not just from the accused but also from two police officers.
The Bench observed:
"Without meaning to conclude at this stage that the allegations in the writ petition are correct, it still causes a lot of distress to this Court because, there are specific guidelines, circulars and orders issued by the various competent authorities with respect to the protection of victims of sexual attack, including rape, but many times I notice that these are not being effectively implemented."
While the Court made it clear that the truth of the allegations are not known yet, it stressed that the competent authorities must provide answers as to why victim protection guidelines have not been implemented effectively.
The Court, therefore, directed the District Police Chief to file a response particularly as to how the victim protection protocols can be effectively put in place and implemented.
Case Title: Bessie Paul v. Station House Officer