The Supreme Court has asked the Governments, both Centre and States to create additional force for investigation of POCSO offences to ensure that all stages of investigation as well as trial, are completed within the time frame stipulated under the Act.
Shocking state of affairs, remarked the bench while perusing the report by SC Registrar Surinder S. Rathi, which stated that in 20% of the POCSO cases, even investigation is not completed within one year. Virtually, no support persons are provided and no compensation is paid to the victims and almost two-third of the cases are pending trial for more than one year, it noted.
The bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna noted that one major reason for the inability of the stake holders to meet the deadline stipulated under the Act, is lack of awareness and lack of dedication in completing investigation, etc. within the time frame stipulated and also inadequacy of the number of courts which has resulted in cases remaining pending beyond the period mandated for completion of trial under the Act. Observing thus, the bench said:
"We hope and expect that the Central Government will play a much more proactive role to ensure that trials of cases arising out of the POCSO Act are completed in the time frame laid down in the Act. We direct all the State Governments as well as the Union of India to do what is required to be done to ensure that all stages of investigation as well as trial, as contemplated under the Act, are completed within the time frame by creation of additional force for investigation. We further direct the Union of India and the State Governments to take steps for sensitization of officials associated with the investigation and also for creation or assignment of dedicated courts to try POCSO cases on top priority so that charge-sheets are filed within the mandatory period and trials are completed within the time frame contemplated under the Act."