The Supreme Court has directed all the states to take steps to appoint exclusive Public Prosecutors in Special Courts for trying POCSO cases.
The bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose, while considering a suo motu writ petition, said that the statutory mandate under Section 32 of the POCSO Act is clear and provides that Special Public Prosecutor under the Act should not deal with other cases.
The court also observed that such Public Prosecutors must be trained to deal with child victims and child witnesses.
The court also asked the National Judicial Academy to prepare a team of master trainers who can travel from State to State to impart training to the persons appointed as Special Public Prosecutors not only in law but also in child psychology, child behaviour, health issues etc. It said:
They need to understand the psychology of children. They need to empathize with children. They need to know how to bring out the truth from children who are victims of sexual abuse and have to undergo the trauma again while recounting the traumatic experience. The job assigned to the Public Prosecutor for POCSO cases is a very onerous one which must be carried out with great care and sensitivity. Therefore not only is there a need to have exclusive Public Prosecutors but there is also a need to develop a training programme where these Special Public Prosecutors should be trained to deal with issues which will arise in their Courts. These issues may not be confined to legal issues which otherwise Public Prosecutors may be trained to deal with. The issues may be psychological, health and other related issues.
The bench also requested the Chief Justices of all High Court to ensure that in the Judicial Academy of the State special programmes are developed so that these Special Public Prosecutors attached to POCSO Courts are imparted training.
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