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SC takes suo motu cognizance of ‘alarming rise’ in child rape cases

The Tribune 2019-07-12 20:25:00

Taking cognizance of the “alarming rise” in cases of rape against children, the Supreme Court on Friday said it will issue directions to ensure a “concerted” and “clear” national response to deal with the problem.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi—which took suo motu cognisance of news reports on rise in child rape cases—appointed senior advocate V Giri as amicus curiae to assist it in framing guidelines and issuing directions to states, including those related to infrastructure and video-recording of the proceedings during trial.

As Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said he was ready to assist the court in the matter, the Bench made it clear that no third party—except Giri and Mehta—would be allowed to intervene in the matter.

It asked the court’s Registry to register the case as a writ petition titled as ‘In-re Alarming Rise in The Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents’ and posted it Monday for issuance of directions.

Referring to data on sexual crimes against children, the Bench said from January 1 to June 30 this year, 24,212 FIRs had been filed across India. Out of over 24,000 cases, 11,981 are still being investigated, while police have filed charge sheets in 12,231 cases.

Trials commenced in 6,449 cases only, it said, adding that they are yet to commence in 4,871 cases. Till now, trial courts have decided only 911 cases, about 4 per cent of the total cases registered, it noted.

The Bench had earlier asked the Registry to file a report on two aspects such as the total number of rape cases involving child registered across India since January 1 and the stage of investigation and the time taken to file a charge sheet as also the status of trials. It had also asked the Registry to collect details from all the states and high courts.

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