Gauhati HC Directs State & Child Rights Body To File Reports On Child Sexual Abuse Cases Before Juvenile Justice Committee Every 6 Months
The Gauhati High Court in a suo motu Public Interest Litigation raising an alarming and important aspect based upon a news article published in English Daily 'The Assam Tribune' has directed the State Government and Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to file status reports on child sexual abuse cases before the High Court's Juvenile Justice Committee every six months.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice R.M. Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia directed –
"i) the State Government shall pursue the appeal in accordance with law;
ii) the State Government and the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights shall strictly adhere to the provisions of the Commission for protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 while conducting enquiry into case relating to child rights violence;
iii) the State Government through Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights shall conduct immediate training on child rights enquiry procedure for all stake-holders;
iv) Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights shall only exercise power which are granted by the Act and shall act as per the limited jurisdiction that has been provided for protection in Child Rights Act, 2005 and shall not involve or engage itself into enquiry and shall not investigate or attempt to gather material;
v) the State Government and Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights shall pursue any such incident reported to it in accordance with the provisions of the act and shall take all necessary steps to protect the right of the child who has suffered either sexual abuse or violence and shall take appropriate legal steps as envisaged under different acts;
vi) the State Government and Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights shall file a report of any such incident and the steps taken, including the enquiry made and the result of that enquiry, to the Juvenile Justice Committee of Guahati High Court every six months, i.e. twice in a year."
Advocate H.K. Das represented the petitioner.
Senior Government Advocate D. Nath and Senior Advocate K. Goswami appeared for the respondents.
In this case, it was reported that three girl inmates of a children's home were subjected to sexual and physical abuse by the Superintendent of the children's home, which led to an attempt to commit suicide by one of the victims. The victims, who escaped from the children's home, were rescued and they were produced before the Child Welfare Committee and their statements were taken. It was found that two persons were alleged to be responsible for the incident that was reported and accordingly, an FIR was lodged against those two persons under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the POCSO Act.
On cognizance taken by the High Court, various orders were passed in the petition. After the FIR was lodged, the charge sheet was filed and the Sessions Court was pleased to acquit both the accused. It was also pointed out by the Senior Government Advocate that the State has already filed an appeal before the Court against the order of acquittal and there was a delay in filing the said appeal. The matter is now to come up in the month of January 2023.
The High Court stated, "... the present PIL is disposed of leaving it for the competent court to decide the appeal in accordance with law."
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the PIL.
Cause Title – XXXX v. In Re-The State of Assam and 4 Ors.