AC courtroom with TV, snacks to put POCSO victims at ease

Special Court in Kochi to be made first child-friendly court facility in State

Published - June 26, 2019 12:28 am IST - Kochi

An air-conditioned waiting room with TV sets, snacks to munch on, and safe and secure facilities for deposing before court during trial. These are some of the facilities that are being readied in a court complex in Kochi, which would put child victims in Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases at ease during court proceedings.

The Special Court in Kochi for trying offences against women and children, which doubles up as the court for POCSO offences, is being refurbished as envisaged in the POCSO Act. Once completed, it will be the first child-friendly court facility in the State where child victims can depose before court in a relaxed manner.

The Kochi court is being refurbished along the lines of the POCSO court in Saket Court complex, New Delhi, said judicial sources.

The Act states that the child should not be exposed to the accused while recording statements during trial. At the same time, the accused should be able to hear the statements of the child. The Act also envisages the recording of the statement of the child through videoconferencing or by one-sided mirror or by staying behind a curtain or any other device, according to the project document approved by the Kerala High Court.

A videoconferencing room will be set up for the child and the qualified interpreter, a paralegal volunteer of the Kerala Legal Services Authority. The questions raised by the judge or the prosecutor will be audible only to the interpreter, who will repeat it to the child in a friendly manner.

The accused and his counsel can listen to visuals and statements of the victim through TV sets and speakers installed in the courtroom, according to the note.

The accused will be allowed to sit behind a one-sided mirror or could stand in the box in the courtroom. A monitor will be installed in the videoconferencing room of the child, which will be used to project the images of the face of the accused for the purpose of identification of the accused by the victim.

The work, which was expected to be completed during the last fiscal, is being undertaken by the Women and Child Development Department of the State government.

The office section of the court will also be refurbished and a separate room for keeping exhibits in cases will be readied. The office of the public prosecutor will be air-conditioned, according to the project document.

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