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Gujarat's sexually-abused children will have to wait for 55-200 years for getting justice, more than any Indian state

Base year: 2016. Screenshot from the report
By Rajiv Shah
In a revelation that should shake up India’s powers-that-be, “model” Gujarat, home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the slowest among Indian states in completing trial of pending cases of child sexual abuse. The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, founded by India’s 2014 Nobel prize recipient, Kailash Satyarthi, has in a new report said, Gujarat would take anywhere between 55 and 200 plus years to complete child sex abuse trials.
If calculated on the basis of the absolute numbers of pending cases as on 2016, the report says, it would take 55 years for Gujarat to complete trials, but if the calculation is based on case disposal rate (again as on 2016), the state would “require more than 200 years to complete trial of pending cases.” Only two small states are found to be “competing” Gujarat’s 200 years mark – Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
10 worst major states
The report has been published against the backdrop of the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, in Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) in January 2018, has “shaken” the conscience of the nation, leading to “public outcry” against “this harrowing case”, reminiscent of “the mass protests against the horrifying gangrape of a young girl in Delhi in December 2012, when justice delivery mechanisms against rape in India were amended to be more stringent and robust”, says the report.
The best performing state – calculated on the basis of absolute numbers of cases of child sexual abuse as also case disposal rate – is Punjab, which would require just two years for completing trials, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Chhattisgarh requiring 3 to 4 years, Tamil Nadu 4 to 7 years, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and J&K 4 to 8 years, and Himachal Pradesh 6 to 11 years.
The states which are found to be performing one of the worst, though far better than Gujarat, include the Left-ruled Kerala, which would take 23 to 74 years, West Bengal 19 to 67 years, Maharashtra 16 to 49 years, Bihar 13 to 40 years, Delhi 13 to 37 years, Karnataka 12 to 35 years, Odisha 12 to 33 years, Rajasthan 10 to 28 years, and Uttar Pradesh 10 to 27 years.
Titled “The Challenge Cannot Wait: Status of Pending Trials in Child Abuse Cases in India”, the report says that this state of affairs is there despite the fact the despite amendments brought about in the India Penal Code 1980, providing a wider definition of rape, seeking completion of investigation of child rape within two months of registration, and completion of trial, also within two months.
The report says, “Stories of child rape and sexual abuse such as that from Kathua continue to emerge every day, in the absence of a responsive justice delivery system”, adding, its state-wise timeline of pendency of cases of child sexual abuse is based on the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India response to a Lok Sabha unstarred question 2544 (August 1, 2017). Data are based on “the prosecution of cases of crimes of child sexual abuse under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 between 2014 and 2016”.
Pointing out that the “state timeline for pendency of cases of child sexual abuse” suggests that “the completion of trial is too slow”, the report states, on an average, it would take “almost two decades to clear backlogs” in the country. However, there are extreme state-level variations. Thus, “it varies from two years in Punjab to more than 60 years in Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Manipur, West Bengal and Kerala”, with continuous rise in “the number of pending cases over the previous year.”
Thus, it says, “The number of pending cases during 2015 has increased by 37% over 2014 (increased from 52,309 in 2014 to 71,552 in 2015). The same during 2016 has increased at 26% (increased from 71,552 in 2015 to 89,999 in 2016).” Noting that “convictions remain a distant dream”, the report says, “With regard to conviction rate, it is evident that conviction under POCSO has remained constant at 30% during 2014-16,” even though “it has registered an increase of 6% during 2015.”

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Isn't there any good news coming out of Gujarat?
Pankti Jog said…
Oh no....This is so horrible

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