The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday, May 1, directed all High Courts of the country to establish a three-judge committee each to monitor and regulate the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012.
The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also directed expeditious judgement in cases of sexual assault of children under special courts and to not adjourn unnecessarily during the course of trials.
The directive came after Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava filed a Public Interest Litigation before the apex court following the brutal rape of an eight-months old girl by her cousin on January 28 at the locality near Netaji Subhash Place in north-west Delhi. Srivastava also pleaded for capital punishment in such cases along with framing of guidelines for investigation and trial and to complete the investigation under POCSO Act, within six months from the FIR filing.
Earlier, the Union Cabinet, on April 21, brought an ordinance increasing the punishment to 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment or death penalty for rape of children below 12 years. Also, the ordinance ordered more stringent punishment for the rape of children below 16 years.