Trial Court can recommend action against Police Officers flouting provisions of POCSO Act while recording Child Victim’s Statement; Orissa HC [Read Judgment]

Trial Court can recommend action against Police Officers flouting provisions of POCSO Act while recording Child Victim’s Statement; Orissa HC [Read Judgment]

Orissa High Court in a recent order it is held that if the Trial Court is of the opinion that the police officer while recording the statement of the child victim had deliberately flouted the provisions prescribed under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), in appropriate cases the Court can recommend for initiation of departmental proceeding against such erring police officer.

Justice S.K. Sahoo while dismissing the bail application of an Accused who is charged with sections 366-A, 372 and 373 of the Indian Penal Code read with sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, held as follows;

“Sections 24 and 26 of the POCSO Act lay down certain procedural formalities to be maintained by the police officer while recording the statement of the child. The investigating agency should be sensitive in such matters. It seems that the whole idea of the legislature while laying down such procedure is that the child who has already been victimized by the perpetrator of the crime should not face any uncomfortable situation or mental trauma during such recording of statement. Recording of the statement of the child at his residence or at a place where he usually resides or at the place his choice and that to in presence of his parents or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence is the requirement of law. Similarly, the statement of the child should be recorded as far as practicable by the woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector and the concerned police officer should not be in uniform while recording the statement. Every possible steps should be taken to record such statement by audio-video electronic means. The police officer should also take the assistance of a translator or an interpreter, if necessary while recording the statement of the child. Every endeavor should be made by the police officer while examining the child that the child shall not come in contract with the accused in any way. In case the child is having mental or physical disability, the police officer should seek the assistance of a special educator or any person familiar with the manner of communication of the child or an expert in the field. According to my humble view, the police officer should specifically mention the compliance of the provisions under section 24 and 26 of the POCSO Act in the case diary while recording the statement of the child victim. Such provisions are made for the benefit of the victim and not for the benefit of the accused. Any procedural infirmity in recording of such statement of the child victim by the police officer would not be a ground for rejection of such statement if it is otherwise cogent and coherent. Such infirmity will also not vitiate the trial nor can the accused claim acquittal on that ground. If the Trial Court is of the opinion that the police officer while recording the statement of the child victim has deliberately flouted the provisions prescribed under POCSO Act, in appropriate cases the Court can recommend for initiation of departmental proceeding against such erring police officer”.

Read the Judgment here.