POCSO Act cases: Victim, mother argue against bail petitions of accused

July 27, 2022 08:42 pm | Updated 08:42 pm IST

Madurai

Bail petitions of two persons accused of having sexually assaulted minor girls were rejected in Theni and Thoothukudi districts on Tuesday.

In Thoothukudi case, the bail petition rejected was that of a child in conflict with law who had sexually assaulted a minor girl.

Dismissal of bail petitions in both the cases happened due to personal appearance of the victim/victim's parents at the hearings.

The mother vehemently opposed the bail petition in the Pudukottai police station case of Thoothukudi district. Arguing her case before Juvenile Justice Board, she narrated the ordeal of her daughter who was yet to come out of the mental trauma days after she was sexually assaulted. The peace of the entire family is disturbed, she said and convinced the board that the bail should not be given to the aggressor.

After being summoned by Theni police, a 12-year-victim appeared before the Mahila Court and opposed the bail petition against her mother. The mother was charged of abetting sexual assault by a man, with whom she had an illicit relationship, on the girl.

The girl told the court that the release on bail of her mother would be a threat to her life, which led to denial of bail to her" Theni Superintendent of Police, Dongare Pravin Umesh, said. The success in getting rejected the bail applications in these two incidents at the Mahila Court and JJB were only part of the efforts of the police in southern districts in taking the heinous crime cases to their logical conclusion.

Thanks to the efforts of police in implementing Criminal Law (Amendment) Act amended Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 that has mandated the presence of the informant or any person authorised by victim at the time of hearing of the bail application moved by person (s) booked for aggravated sexually assault cases for rape/gang rape of woman under 16 years of age and 12 years of age.

"This provision had not been followed till Inspector General of Police (South Zone, Asra Garg) pointed it to us," said Assistant Superintendent of Police (Thoothukudi Rural), G. Chandeesh.

Consequently, the offences (of rape/gang rape) of woman below 12 years and 16 years under Indian Penal Code were appropriately interpretted and added to offences in cases booked under POCSO Act.

In the Thoothukudi case, the first information report was altered and Section 376 (3) under IPC (for rape of a woman under 16 years of age) was added to offences and took the mother to the court at the time of hearing of bail application.

To ensure the presence of victim's representatives at the time of hearing, the police in southern districts have been asked to serve summon in prescribed formats 1 and 2 to the victim/family members asking them to appear in the court/JJB.

"The investigation officer has also been instructed to educate the rights of the victim under POSCO Act," Mr. Asra Garg said.

In connection with Sections pertaining to non-aggravated sexual assault, format 2 is served.

"The difference between the two formats is that in aggravated sexual assault, it is obligatory on part of the victim/representative to appear before the court at the time of hearing," he added. In other cases, the information about the bail applications moved is passed on to the victim's family.

"The rights of victims have been violated by the aggresor. This provision is an effective part of criminal justice system and we are only facilitating the victims to present their voice in the court of law," the IG said.

The court would appreciate the victims’ point of view while considering the bail petition of the accused, he added.

Mr. Dongare said that the new provision has helped the girl know about the bail petition and fight it out in the court. Such poor and illiterate victims/families would not know about the bail petition moved by accused unless facilitated by the police, he added.

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