New Delhi | The Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) on Monday told Delhi High Court that the rate of conviction in cases of sexual offences against children was alarming and left an unsavoury image of the way the criminal justice system is being administered in the national capital.
“The authority humbly submits that the above referred conviction rate (18.49 per cent till July 2016) prima facie leaves an unsavoury image of the way the criminal justice system is being administered in Delhi and creates an alarm in the mind of the general public that victims of rape and sexual offence, especially children, are not getting justice,” DSLSA submitted before the high court.
The authority has made the submission in an affidavit placed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, which did not assemble today and the matter was listed for further hearing on November 22.
In its affidavit, filed in response to a PIL by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan seeking time-bound trial and disposal of cases relating to offences against children, DSLSA has said that conviction rates in Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) matters for 2014 was 16.33 per cent, 19.65 per cent for 2015 and 18.49 per cent till July 31, 2016.
The authority, however, said that “the manner in which the reports are compiled in District Courts based on institutions, disposal, conviction, and acquittal are not good indicators to evaluate or conduct legal audit of POCSO matters.”
In order to improve the justice delivery system in cases of sexual offences under POCSO, a new software and computerisation of records is proposed to be introduced in District Courts, DSLSA member secretary Dharmesh Sharma said.
He said the proposed software would help in generating data to “present a true picture to Legislature, Media and public and also to carry out a legal audit of the entire justice delivery system reflecting upon the working of various stakeholders viz police, prosecution, courts, NGOs, forensic and medical etc.”
The NGO, represented by senior advocate H S Phoolka, has stated that not only does the CrPC, but the Constitution also “envisages a citizen’s fundamental right to fast and speedy trial”.
It also stated that “despite the introduction of POCSO Act, there has been an incessant delay in investigation, trial and adjudication of cases in courts in Delhi”.