NEW DELHI: A minor victim of sexual offence suffers grave psychological impact by being present during court proceedings and it is in her interest that she is not traumatised again by having to relive the incident, Delhi High Court has said.
Justice Jasmeet Singh noted that arguments in court proceedings include assertions doubting the victim’s integrity and character while she is forced to be present in the same space as the person who has allegedly violated her.
The judge, who was hearing an appeal by a man convicted of perpetrating offences under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and the IPC upon his own daughter, sought the stand of the Delhi State as well as the High Court’s legal services authority on certain practice directions to govern the presence of victims in courts in bail hearings.
The allegations against the appellant included commission of offences under section 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and sections 376 (rape)/506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) IPC. “The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her,” said the court in its order on August 1.
“It is in the interest of the victim that she is not traumatised again by re-living the said incident/ court proceedings which could be triggering for her. In this view of the matter, the suggested practice directions be sent to the Member Secretary, DHCLSC (Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee) and DSLSA (Delhi State Legal Services Authority) for their inputs,” it said. The appellant in the case has sought suspension of the sentence of 10-year rigorous imprisonment and fine during the pendency of his appeal.