“We are to implement POCSO with appropriate caution and to expedite the probe,”

While hundreds of POCSO cases are still outstanding throughout Tamil Nadu, a number of districts in the police’s southern jurisdiction have come up with a system 

Without the help of a sympathetic “trial monitoring officer,” J Josephraja, a 49-year-old pastor accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in a church in Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu, would have been denied bail.

His bail was denied by the special court in Virudhunagar district, which hears cases under the (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012) Pocso Act, and he was given a severe life sentence last month.

While hundreds of Pocso cases are still outstanding throughout Tamil Nadu, a number of districts in the police’s southern jurisdiction have come up with a system by designating one of their own as a “trial monitoring officer” for each case during the last few months.

When a victim files an FIR, the trial monitoring officers act as a link between their agency and the public attorney and witnesses untill the case is resolved quickly.

Image courtesy: DT next

Asra Garg, Tamil Nadu’s south zone inspector general of police, claims that “this is to bring about a systemic change.” “After a case is filed, victims often play no further part, whereas the accused is informed of all developments. As a result, the trial monitoring officer informs the victims.

To keep the victim’s family up to date on events during court hearings, an SMS is typically sent to them in Tamil. Most importantly, according to Garg, is that before the chargesheet is submitted, these officers inform the victim’s family about impending bail petitions. This has aided in a number of situations when bail has been denied.

Tenkasi and Tirunelveli city are among the ten districts in the state’s southern zone that have implemented this method. According to Garg, “all these measures have been initiated so that those affected and their families do not feel like they have been victimised again and so that we can assist them to be empowered in the criminal justice system.” 

Image courtesy: the Hindu

It is victim-centric, deadline-driven, socially responsible, and consistent with the law. We are to implement POCSO with appropriate caution and to expedite the probe, as instructed by the Tamil Nadu government. The chief minister has also established a special fund to aid sufferers. Additionally, our officers are seeing to it that victims get their due.

According to police, the pastor’s release was denied by the court because the complainant, the victim’s mother, objected to it and the public prosecutor said that the accused’s greater power would allow him to tamper with the evidence and jeopardise the victim.

Since the victim had a mental impairment, her mother appeared in court to oppose the bail, according to R Srinivasa Perumal, superintendent of police (SP), Virudhunagar. 

“Since the victim had a mental disability, her mother came to court to fight the bail, but in child sex abuse cases, if the victim is above 14, they can disagree with bail applications,” he adds. The establishment of trial monitoring officers has resulted in the greatest number of convictions.

Image resource: Economic Times

According to Srinivasaperumal, 48 Pocso cases that were filed this year in the Virudhunagar district resulted in convictions.

A 32-year-old man was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl with mental illness and physical disability on May 31 by the special Pocso court in Virudhunagar. According to the police, the event happened on February 27 and resulted in a conviction in 94 days. On June 1, the defendant was declared guilty by judge K Poorana Jeya Anand and given a 20-year harsh prison term.

The victim will also receive 10 lakh in compensation, the court ruled. On June 6, a 68-year-old Sivakasi man who had been convicted of sexually assaulting two young girls was also given a life sentence. In this case, the chargesheet was submitted in 39 days.

Dharshini, a journalism graduate with a bachelor's of arts in Multimedia and Mass Communication, is passionate about global issues and likes to write in a streamlined, concise approach to share what she believes. She has strong research and analytical capabilities and hopes to use both her knowledge and her abilities to make a contribution in this area.

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