We are a nation where according to statistics nearly 47% of the children are subjected to child sexual abuse. All these years there was no law for the protection of children from such abuse. The archaic Indian Penal Code was the only source for penalizing the perpetrators. Most cases weren’t reported ( the situation is no different even as on this day ). Many got away with the crime. Law was blamed for the failure to convict such perpetrators. It was only after decades of struggle of Child Rights Groups and international conventions that India woke up to come up with the POCSO Act.
A recent study demonstrated that most cases are Child Sexual Abuse end up in acquittal. Pursuant to Judgement of Supreme Court of India in Kishan Bhai’s case questions arise as to the kind of protection we provide after promulgating POCSO act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
With no changes in investigation practices insensitive and/or lackadaisical approach towards investigation, poor charge sheets uninformed or insensitive prosecution and absolute lack of protection to the victim and the witnesses are the reasons for easy bail, delayed trial and “fair” chance of acquittal.
Overburdened courts saddled with special court status are unable to cope up to the demands of the POCSO Act. With the want of training to police, prosecution and the judges the system is most unfriendly to a victim of Child Sexual Abuse. Before we become cynical towards the effectiveness of protection of children from CSA under POCSO Act and rules it is time we make the system “Child-Friendly” in its true sense.