AGRA: Ten years after the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) was implemented in 2012, cases related to child abuse are surging in Uttar Pradesh, with four cases registered in the state every day, reveals an RTI reply by the state crime records bureau (SCRB).
In the last seven years (2015-21), 11,902 cases have been registered under the Act across 48 districts of Uttar Pradesh. Lucknow is among the top five districts in this regard, with 800 cases of sexual crimes reported against children.
Also, as many as 750 cases were recorded in Pilibhit, 607 in Siddharthnagar, 589 in Bijnor and 489 in Maharajganj.
Child rights activist Naresh Paras, who had filed the RTI query, said, “The number of cases registered under the Pocso Act in UP will be much higher as only 48 districts out of the 75 responded to the query forwarded by the SCRB.
Besides, the surge in number of cases related to sexual offences against children and the high pendency of such cases is a major reason for concern.”
UP has highest pendency of over 77.7% of total cases filed
According to the national crime records bureau (NCRB) data, the largest number of cases under Pocso in 2021 was in UP (7,129).
A study conducted by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in collaboration with the Data Evidence for Justice Reform (De Jure) programme of the World Bank revealed that UP has the highest pendency with over three-fourths (77.7%) of the total cases filed between November 2012 and February 2021.
Out of the five districts with the highest pendency percentages, four are in UP (Lucknow, Hardoi, Budaun and Allahabad) and one in West Bengal (Howrah).
The study found that, on an average, it takes 509.78 days for a Pocso case to be disposed of – whereas it has been stipulated under the Act that such cases need to be disposed of within a year. The report observed that one of the primary reasons for this is the slow pace of investigation by police and delay in depositing samples with forensic science laboratories. Paras added, “The provisions under the Pocso Act have not been implemented despite 10 years since its implementation. Earlier this year, the SC had noted that in 96% of the cases, a ‘support person’ was not provided to the victim.” A support person may be a person or organisation working in the field of child rights or child protection, an official of a children’s home or a shelter home having custody of the child, or a person employed by the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), who hand-holds the victim through the entire legal process.
The Pocso Act, which was enforced on November 14, 2012, is gender-neutral.
The Act clearly defines different forms of sexual abuse, including but not limited to sexual harassment, pornography, penetrative and non-penetrative assault. “Many cases of child abuse go unreported due to distinct reasons, including lack of awareness about the Act. The law mentions that non-reporting of sexual assault against a minor child, despite having knowledge of it is a serious crime and also an attempt to shield the offenders,” Paras said.





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