Supreme Court asks Centre to give details on pending cases of sexual assault against children

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to give details of pending cases of sexual assault against children across the country for taking a "national view" with an aim to understand how such trials could be fast-tracked.

The direction came from a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud which was hearing a PIL filed in a case relating to the rape of an eight-month-old child allegedly by her 28-year-old cousin here.

Additional solicitors general P S Narasimha and Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, informed the apex court that following its yesterday's order, a team of doctors from the AIIMS had visited the baby in a local government hospital and shifted her to the AIIMS for better medical care.

The AIIMS, in its report, said that the local hospital has performed a corrective surgery in a professional manner and the child has been shifted for ensuring that she gets proper medical care, the law officers said, adding that the parents of the girl child have also been granted Rs 75,000 interim compensation with the help of the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA).

 Supreme Court asks Centre to give details on pending cases of sexual assault against children

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

The law officers told the court that an FIR has already been registered and the accused was in judicial custody.

Lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava, who has filed the PIL in his personal capacity in the case, sought a direction to Parliament to amend the law and make a provision for award of death penalty in cases of rape involving infants. "Death penalty is not the answer to everything," Narasimha said.

The bench, which termed the instant case as "brutal", however, said that it cannot direct Parliament to amend the law.

The court took note of the submissions that cases of sexual assaults against children needed to be probed and tried in a time-bound manner and asked the Centre and the petitioner lawyer to provide details of such pending matters in the country so that a "national view" could be taken with an aim to finding ways to fast-track trials.

Earlier, the top court had expressed grave concern over the rape of the child by her cousin and had directed two doctors of the AIIMS to visit the victim in the hospital and assess her condition.

The child was raped allegedly by her 28-year-old cousin on 28 January in a locality near Netaji Subhash Place in north-west Delhi.

Srivastava, in his plea, said that external and internal injuries of the child were severe and the infant had to undergo a three-hour-long surgery. "The victim baby belongs to an extremely poor family. Her father works as a labourer and her mother as a domestic help," the plea said.

It sought a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the victim's parents and framing of guidelines that investigation and trial of the cases involving rape of children below the age of 12 years, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, should be completed within six months from the date of registration of the FIR.

The police had said the accused had confessed to raping the baby under the influence of liquor.

The girl's parents used to go out for work leaving their daughter in the custody of their sister-in-law. Since it was a Sunday, their sister-in-law's son was at home, the police had said, adding that when the accused saw that his mother was not around, he allegedly forced himself on the baby.

When the girl's mother returned home at around 12.30 pm, she saw blood stains on the victim's clothes and informed her husband, they said, adding she was rushed to a hospital where it was found that she had been sexually assaulted.

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Updated Date: Feb 01, 2018 22:19:16 IST