Jammu: With as many as 168 cases pending disposal before designated court, Jammu districts tops in the incident of sexual abuse against children in Jammu and Kashmir.
Data suggests, there were 859 cases of POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) pending before the designated courts of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, as on December 31, 2022.
The year 2002 alone saw as many as 278 new cases under POCSO reaching the courts while only 72 cases were disposed of. This suggests a slow delivery of justice to the victims while incidents of sexual crime against children are on the rise.
Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Board and Acting Chief Justice Tashi Rabstan has taken serious note of the situation has directed the Judicial Officers dealing with such cases to ensure strict compliance to the timeline fixed under the Act.
The Acting Chief Justice, a meeting held through virtual mode with Special Judges designated under the POCSO Act of various districts of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, took stock of the disposal of cases and award of compensation to the POCSO victims during the year 2022.
As per the district-wise breakup, 77 cases were pending in Srinagar district as on December 31, 2022, 34 in Ganderbal, 87 in Anantnag, 37 in Kulgam, 21 in Shopian, 32 in Pulwama, 47 in Baramulla, 17 in Bandipora, 53 in Budgam, 6 in Kupwara, 168 in Jammu, 30 in Samba, 38 in Kathua, 20 in Poonch, 17 in Rajouri, 26 in Bhaderwah, 20 in Ramban, 14 in Kishtwar, 69 in Udhampur, 41 in Reasi, 4 in Leh and one in Kargil.
During the year 2022, compensation as per Rule 9 was provided only in respect of 33 cases while as no victim compensation was awarded in 177 cases. During the meeting, Member Secretary Legal Services Authority Amit Kumar Gupta informed the Acting Chief Justice that an amount to the tune of Rs 1.33 crore was disbursed to the child victims during the year 2022.
Justice Rabstan expressed concern over pendency, delay in disposal of cases and non-awarding of compensation to the victims and urged all the judges dealing POCSO cases to decide the pending cases in a time bound manner. He emphasized the need of awarding compensation to the victims strictly as per Rule 9 of the POCSO Rules, 2020 to provide relief and rehabilitation to the child victims.
Even as the Acting Chief Justice has played his role by passing on necessary directions for speedy disposal of cases and disbursement of compensation yet the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is also required to pay serious attention towards the issue and try to establish more POCSO courts so that pendency is brought down to the desired level.
(With inputs from Daily Excelsior)