Judicial officers need to show more sensitivity in POCSO cases: Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam of Calcutta High Court

The Chief Justice was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of an additional sessions court in South 24 Parganas.

Calcutta High Court Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam on Wednesday called for judicial officers to show more sensitivity towards human trafficking cases, as well as cases falling under the stringent Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

The Chief Justice highlighted that most of the appeals filed in the higher courts in POCSO cases often attack the procedural lapses on the part of the trial court. Therefore, judicial officers must ensure that all the procedures are duly followed, he said.

“Time and again, the Supreme Court has emphasised that top priority must be given to dispose of POCSO cases. The top court has, through its judgments, laid down how judges dealing with such cases must be imparted with proper training and how sensitivity has to be there,” the Chief Justice opined.

He also pointed out that a committee was recently constituted under the leadership of Supreme Court judge, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah to prepare a training module for judges handling cases where sensitivity must be shown.

“Importance is being given by top court to sensitive cases. Thus, even you (judicial officers) should give top priority to such sensitive and POCSO cases. Also, make use of the vulnerable witnesses’ room because in appeals in POCSO cases, the very first attack is always on the procedural aspect of the trial. Thus, go through the recent judgments of the Supreme Court and High Courts and keep yourself abreast with latest settled law on procedural aspect of a trial,” he advised trial court judges.

The Chief Justice was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the new additional sessions court in Baruipur, South 24 Parganas. He revealed that the new building was constructed after looking at the high number of pending cases.

“Statistics show that nearly 2,700 civil cases and over 1,700 sessions cases are pending. The record further revealed that a total of 1,032 cases are arising out of POCSO. Thus, there is a need to bring down the piling backlog and I believe the new infrastructure will help in doing so,” the Chief Justice said.

He further underlined that judicial officers must ensure that no case is kept pending for more than 20 years.

“Verify the physical files as there are discrepancies in the online statistics. Verify the files on your own at least twice a month and this will help you ascertain the stage at which a case has reached. It will help you bring down the huge number of pending cases.”

With the new infrastructure in place, not only litigants but also advocates would get the benefits, as more cases would now be disposed of, he concluded.

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