SC to examine fixing deadline for trial completion in POCSO cases

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked for details of cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act pending in courts in order to examine whether a deadline can be fixed for the completion of trials in such cases.

The apex court asked lawyer and petitioner Alakh Alok Srivastava, who had approached the court for the treatment of an eight-month-old victim of sexual assault, to furnish the information.

A team of three doctors, who on Wednesday visited the months-old girl who was raped in Delhi by her cousin, filed a status report before the SC today, a day after the court directed AIIMS to immediately assign two competent doctors for her treatment.

The court was also informed that the child was moved to AIIMS for post-operative care, and that her parents had received Rs 75,000 as interim compensation.

Meanwhile, the Centre told the SC that it was not in favour of the death penalty to those found guilty of child sexual assault or infant rape.

“Death penalty is not an answer for everything,” additional solicitor general PS Narasimha told the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Narasimha added that the POCSO Act provides graded punishment for different degrees of brutality in sexual offences against children.

The SC had on Wednesday said it was “very much concerned” about the child, who had to undergo a three-hour-long surgery due to severe injuries to her private parts.

In his petition, Srivastava has sought the urgent framing of guidelines on the investigation and trial of cases of rape of children between 0-12 years of age, to ensure they are completed within six months from the date of filing of FIR.

“As of now, POCSO Act only provides maximum punishment of life imprisonment. So I have said that rape cases in which there is victim of 0-12 years of age, maximum punishment should be death penalty,” Srivastava had earlier told ANI.

(With inputs from agencies)

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