JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court has blasted the Vasundhara Raje government for its failure to set up adequate number of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) courts and has summoned government officials concerned on 12 July along with records to show the progress made in increasing the number of such courts in the state.
The order was passed by a bench of Justices Manish Bhandari and Dinesh Chandra Somani on a petition filed by the Rajasthan State Legal Service Tribunal.
Upset at the state government’s inability to allocate a budget for setting up of POCSO courts, the court has expressed anguished at the government’s failure to understand the importance of the POCSO Act and non-adherence to the allocated time-frame for setting up these special courts.
The high court said state Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta had assured of opening seven-eight new POCSO courts, but the government machinery had miserably failed to allocate funds for the same even as the tenure of the Raje government was now nearing its end. Currently, Rajasthan has only one POCSO court in the entire state.
When asked about the court order, Rajasthan’s Advocate General Narpat Mal Lodha said, “It has been the broad observation of the court that budgets need to be allocated for new POSCO courts. We have received the copy of the order where the court has instructed the government to elaborate on the steps taken so far by in setting up of new POCSO courts.”
Worried at the rising trend of rape of minors, activists pointed at the poor rate of convictions in such cases and condemned the government’s insensitivity and lack of priority.
Kavita Srivastava, a leading woman activist and secretary of Rajasthan chapter of PUCL, said the failure to set up POCSO courts showed the government’s lack of seriousness about women and child issues.
“They have done pilgrimage financing; they spent crores of rupees on PM Modi’s rally in Jaipur. But social security is not a priority for this government.”