Death penalty not answer to every child sex abuse, Centre tells SC

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India, File Photo

New Delhi, Feb 1: The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the death penalty is not the answer for every child sex abuse case and that graded penalties for graded offences have been provided under the POCSO Act, 2012.

“Death penalty is not an answer to every problem. There are graded penalities for graded offences under the POCSO,” Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, which is hearing a case involving sexual assault on an eight-month-old infant who is now undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Delhi.

The Centre spelt its position on the issue as the petitioner-lawyer sought death for the accused.

“We can’t suggest death penalty, as you are suggesting,” Chief Justice Misra said and sought to know what penalty under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) provided for.

Describing this instant case as “brutal”, the court sought data on the number of cases pending under POCSO, status of their trial, and time is taken to complete the trials.

This came after the petitioner wanted fast-tracking of trials in POCSO cases as he referred to a National Crime Record Bureau report that said these cases took three years to decide.

The court was told that in pursuance to its Wednesday’s oder, two doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) visited the Kalawati Saran Hospital and examined the infant. The court was informed that the baby has now been shifted to AIIMS.

The court was also told that under the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme, 2015, an interim compensation has been given to the child’s family.

The next hearing in the mater will take place on March 12.


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