According to a think-tank examination of cases in e-Courts across the country under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012, 43.44% of trials result in acquittals and only 14.03% result in convictions. Furthermore, the accused were known to the victims in 22.9%, which is about fourth of the 138 judgments examined in detail.

 

About the POCSO Act

  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act is a comprehensive act that came into force in November 2012.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development introduced the act.
  • Commonly known as POCSO Act, it deals with offences related to children.
  • This act addresses heinous crimes and protects a child from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
  • The POCSO Act, 2012 lays down the punishment for exposing children to any kind of sexual offence.
  • The enactment of this act increased the scope of reporting sexual crimes against children.
  • What was the need of this act?
      • The act was required as the Indian Penal Code was inadequate to address Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Pornography and Sexual Violence against boys and a child.
      • The act is gender-neutral and recognises both girls and a boy as a victim of sexual violence.
      • The POCSO was also required as the procedure for the crime reported under IPC is more rigid and also not child friendly.
      • Also, India is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Children (UNCRC).
      • The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to ensure child-friendly procedure for the filing of the report and fulfils the requirement of Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India. Clause 3 of Article 15 of the Constitution gives powers to the legislature to create special provisions for women and children.
  • Features of POCSO Act –
      • The Act defines the various types of offences, touch-based, non-touch, penetrative, pornographic crimes etc., in detail and doesn’t leave any kind of offence.
      • The act also defines the person under the age of 18 as a child.
      • The act also has a feature to give compensation to the victim.
      • Only the POCSO Court has the jurisdiction to deal with the matter related to the act.
      • The INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY principle does not apply in the matter related to the POCSO Act, 2012. Once a complaint gets filed in this case, it gets presumed that the intention was to commit a sexual act.
      • If a child goes through abuse at home, he will get relocated by the Child Welfare Commission for care and protection.

 

Findings of the report

  • The analysis, titled “A Decade of Pocso,” was conducted by the Justice, Access, and Lowering Delays in India (JALDI) Initiative at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in partnership with the World Bank’s Data Evidence for Justice Reform (DE JURE) initiative.
  • In addition, according to data provided by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) in 2021, the accused in 96% of POCSO cases was a person known to the victim.
  • Acquittals were 7 times more common in Andhra Pradesh than convictions, and 5 times more common in West Bengal.
  • In Kerala, however, the difference between acquittal and conviction is not as large.
  • In 2018, Delhi had the highest number of POCSO trials, with 13.54 cases per 100,000 people.
  • UP has the biggest number of cases pending, accounting for more than three-fourths (77.77%) of all lawsuits filed between November 2012 and February 2021.
  • One of the key causes for the high level of pending cases is the police’s slow pace of investigation and the delay in depositing samples with the Forensic Science Laboratories.