One would find on perusal of the Charge-sheet that the name of the victim, her address, and detail of school has been revealed therein flagrantly by the Investigating Agency throwing caution and the mandate of the Statute to the winds, the judge observed.
While dismissing an appeal in a POCSO case, the Sikkim High Court has observed that the special court is also vested with the responsibility of ensuring that identity of the victim-child is not disclosed during the investigation.
Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai observed that Section 33(7) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, enjoins upon the special court to ensure that the identity of the child is not disclosed at any time during the course of investigation or trial.
In this case, the judge observed that although the trial court ‘has been largely circumspect with regard to the identity of the victim during the trial’, there are ‘a few slip-ups’ in the order and judgment of the Trial court. “Besides ensuring that the Court does not disclose the child’s identity, the Learned Special Court is also vested with the responsibility of ensuring that this does not occur during the investigation. In this context, it is for the Learned Special Court to devise methods for such steps’, the court said in this regard.
The court also said the investigating agency for their part should ensure that the identity of the victim is protected and not disclosed during the investigation or in the charge-sheet. “One would find on perusal of the Charge-sheet that the name of the victim, her address, and detail of school has been revealed therein flagrantly by the Investigating Agency throwing caution and the mandate of the Statute to the winds,” the court said.
A separate File may perhaps be maintained in utmost confidence, for reference, if so required, the judge added.
It also observed that statutes which have been enacted to protect children of crimes of which the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, and the POCSO Act impose an obligation not only on the court and the Police, but also the media and society at large to protect children from the exponentially increasing sexual offences against children and to the best of their ability to take steps for prevention of such sexual exploitation of children.
The court also reproduced provisions of the POCSO Act for the purpose of information and compliance of all concerned.