In child sexual abuse Cases, child friendly justices at the highest attainable level required: Justice BV Nagarathna

In child sexual abuse Cases, child friendly justices at the highest attainable level required: Justice BV Nagarathna

In his address to the two-day National Stakeholders Consultation organised by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice on Saturday, Supreme Court Justice BV Nagarathna stated that "In the context of child sexual abuse it is necessary to administer child friendly justice at the highest attainable level. Justice that is accessible, age appropriate, speedy, adapted to and focussed on the needs and rights of the child."

On National Human Rights Day, Justice Nagarathna urged everyone to reaffirm their commitment to protecting children from various forms of abuse. She said, "The journey towards achieving the lofty ambition of protecting every such children from various manifestations of abuse will be an arduous one. Today on the occasions of National Human Rights Day, let us take a pledge to consider how Human Rights may be actualised for every child particularly those in contact and in conflict with the law. Let us jointly re-affirm our commitment to protecting our children from various manifestations of abuse."

Justice Nagarathna expressed concern about the pending POCSO cases throughout the country, and while she welcomed the Central Government's suggestion of setting up fast track courts to remedy the situation, she also suggested that the establishment of courts be accompanied by additional steps. "I am informed that the current pendency of trials pending pertaining to offences under the POCSO Act stands 2.26 lakhs or more throughout the country. The Central Govt has suggested a remedy to this situation by increasing the number of fast-track courts to hear and dispose of matters relating to Child Sexual Abuse. While this is a welcome move, I must caution that setting up fast track courts alone would be futile unless such measures are complimented with the appointment of more judges to try offences under the Act and by training and sensitization of judges, public prosecutors, police personnel, as we just heard Hon'ble Chief Justice say about it regarding the prevention of re-traumatization and regarding the support for mental health as stated by Hon'ble Minister in her speech. The role of experts when coupled with a child centric legal process could in fact help a child victim tread through the emotionally arduous path of recovery following abuse."

The event was also attended by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, and Supreme Court judge Justice S Ravindra Bhat.


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