The Delhi High Court observed that there was a need to appoint more public prosecutors in each special court set up to handle sexual offence cases against children.
“Give us a report regarding the number of pending cases under the POCSO Act in Delhi. We have to assess district-wise needs. Courts need more public prosecutors,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said in a directive to the Delhi government.
The bench also asked the Administrative Reforms Department of the Delhi government to submit an affidavit on the issue of handling of POCSO cases by the special public prosecutors.
The High Court was hearing a plea, filed through advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, alleging that the government has not appointed special public prosecutors (SPPs) to handle the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Bansal had contended that as per the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights data, there were over 4000 cases pending under the POCSO Act in various district courts here and trial in these would be delayed if “independent or unattached” SPPs were not appointed to deal with them.
The plea had said that the powers of SPPs have been conferred upon Additional Public Prosecutors (APPs) to deal with the cases pending in courts set up under the POCSO Act.
He had contended the government’s decision to confer the powers of SPPs on already attached APPs was contrary to the High Court’s orders to appoint special prosecutor for such cases alone.
“It is respectfully submitted that this court, through its various orders, has categorically directed the Government of NCT of Delhi to appoint independent SPPs under the POCSO Act.
“However, despite of the court’s intervention, the government has failed to implement the same in its letter and spirit,” the plea had alleged.
On April 16, the Centre had told the High Court that it has given a go-ahead to the city government to appoint SPPs in each special court set up to handle sexual offence cases involving minors.
The court had thereafter asked the city government to appoint SPPs within four weeks and disposed of the PIL.
It, however, had granted the liberty to seek revival of the PIL if the Delhi government failed to implement the order.