HYDERABAD: The suicide of a 14-year-old rape victim in Warangal, merely two days after the landmark judgment that served death penalty to a convict who raped and murdered an infant, has once again sent waves of shock across the State. Despite two landmark judgments -- life imprisonment for one, and death sentence for another -- in separate POCSO cases within the span of 2 months, there seems to be no reduction in the number of minors being raped. The death penalty was especially historic as it was pronounced within 48 days of the crime being committed.
According to experts, there is an urgent need to publicise such judgments. The fact that the trials are being taken up in a speedy manner will not only create a deterrence amongst the anti-social elements but also improve public faith in the system.
“One of the things we need to see is that the majority of those accused are not socially well-placed to feel the deterrence. So one or two judgments will not deter them. Moreover, we have seen that the accused often do not care about the consequences he would face as he knows that bail is inevitable and that the charge sheet may be late. So they commit the crime anyway,” noted Padmawathi, chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Rangareddy district. Padmawathi says publicising such verdicts can help showcase the might of the law.
Officials involved in trials of POCSO cases also note that the High Court must set up child-friendly courts and legal support systems in every district at the earliest. “Most victims are from underprivileged backgrounds and feel overwhelmed by the legal procedures concomitant with a trial.
There is an urgent need to set up systems like Bharosa centre in districts so that the victim can be familiarised with the system,” added S Spandana, Legal Officer from Bharosa centre. According to activist Achyutha Rao of Balala Hakkula Sangham, an expert committee needs to sit upon the issue and work out modalities for the safety of girls.