Demanding that the police ensure that the accused in the recent sexual assault of the five-year-old girl not be brought before the child in any manner and that the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, (POCSO) be followed strictly, child rights activists and non-government organisations working in the area have now written to the Delhi Police in the matter.
In a letter written to the Delhi Police, NGO Pratidhi has noted: “This is with reference to the recent sexual assault on a five-year-old girl under Gandhi Nagar police station. We are handling this case under the crisis intervention centres programme. It should be kept in mind while dealing with the case that in view of provisions under POCSO Act and the well-being of the child the accused should not be brought in front of her at all. In fact in this case the child victim has been abused in such a brutal manner that the sight of the accused will affect her psyche adversely.”
The group has also noted that under the POCSO Act the child cannot be asked to identify the accused as done under test identification parade under CrPC section 54 A.
“In fact Section 24(3) of the POCSO Act clearly says that police officer making the investigation shall while examining the child ensure that at no point of time the child should come in contact in any way with the accused. Also the child should not see accused at the time of testifying,” said programme officer Shikha at Pratidhi. She added that the NGO has also communicated to the police that the special court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in any way to the accused at the time of recording of evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.
“The special court may record the statement of the child through video-conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device,” the letter noted.
Meanwhile, the UN Women has on Tuesday noted that it strongly deplores the continuing cases of sexual violence against women and girls, including the barbaric rape of the five-year-old girl in Delhi.
In a release, it said: “We stress the urgent need to promote and protect the rights of girls around India. This brutal act of violence on an innocent girl defies the very basic tenets of human rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution and the United Nations Charter. We urge for the speedy application of the recently passed Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013.”
Stating that there was a pressing need for institutions including the police to be more accountable and responsive, UN women has noted that “police officers with reputations of outstanding ability and character must be placed at the higher levels of the police force”.
“While India needs to build a comprehensive and long-term plan for prevention of violence against women, every member of the police force must understand that their accountability is only to the law and to none else in the discharge of their duty. It is unacceptable that 73 per cent of women do not feel safe in their own surroundings in Delhi, as we reported in a recent study. Violence against women and girls must end. Protection has to go hand-in-hand with prevention to bring about a complete change in mind-sets. Involving young men is essential to make this difference and it requires consistent efforts,” noted the release.