Special public prosecutors appointed for Pocso cases

The Prosecution Department announced the appointment of 16 special public prosecutors to handle offences relating to the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012 in 16 special courts across the State. The Supreme Court had in its order dated January 8, 2020, called for all states to appoint exclusive public prosecutors in all the courts that had been exclusively set up for Pocso cases.

In 2019, the Supreme court had directed that special courts be set up in each district that had over 100 cases of child abuse and sexual assault pending trial under the Pocso Act. Following this, the Tamil Nadu government had constituted 16 special courts in Chennai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Chengalpet Nagercoil, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Salem, Sivaganga, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Tiruvannamalai, Thoothukudi, Vellore, Villupuram and Srivilliputhur exclusively for the trial of cases under the Pocso Act 2012. Vidya Reddy of Tulir, Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse said that the Special Public Prosecutors have a key role in ensuring that child-friendly measures stipulated under the Pocso Act are adopted and rights of the child are protected. She also stressed on the need for the SPPs to facilitate appreciation of medical evidence and forensic reports.

“It is also hoped that the prosecutors will ensure a better application of Rule 7 of the Pocso Act which states that there is an eligibility for interim compensation to meet the immediate needs of the affected child will be considered,” she said.

“An enabling experience for the child and family is likely to encourage victims and their families to cooperate with prosecutors and view the criminal justice system with less trepidation and apprehension. This is essential in ensuring that the child or young person maintains their engagement with the criminal justice process,” Ms Vidya said.

She further stated that successful convictions of sexual abuse offenders can provide victims with a sense of empowerment and safety.

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