The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO), 2012, has been the subject of a two-day national consultation hosted by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice in collaboration with UNICEF.
“A POCSO victim's condition may be described as being one of betrayed trust and innocence lost, of mind in strife, and stolen life”, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Chairperson of the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, said in his address to the group. He concurred that all parties involved have a big role in enhancing the POCSO Act and putting it into action.
“Unfortunately, the POCSO Act is frequently only viewed in terms of its ability to successfully prosecute and convict offenders. Securing punishment takes up a large portion of our focus because of the heinous character of the crime that targets young children as victims. Focusing on restorative justice in the form of a child's rehabilitation and recovery is crucial for the same reason. A review of how various stakeholders are adjusting to the special rigours and facilitating the broad protection that this legislation affords children is necessary to strike the right balance between these while focusing on the child-centric and rights-based approach, which are the pillars of our juvenile justice system.”
The Juvenile Justice Committee, according to Justice Bhat, is a forum for bringing together various stakeholders to develop a unified approach to issues involving the protection of children who are in conflict with the law or who need care and protection, as well as to advance children's rights while keeping the best interests of the child at the forefront. He continued, "To identify successful methods that can be replicated and used as cautionary lessons to learn from, it takes multi-level collaboration across institutions and stakeholders and nuanced engagement with both their positive and negative experiences."
Speaking to the gathering, he explained that each state's juvenile justice commission had conducted a context-based examination of the many aspects of the law's implementation at the regional level of the States before the National Consultation. The Consultation "offers a chance to compare notes and learn from one another who are encountering comparable difficulties across state borders," he added.
“The challenge of achieving the goal of the POCSO Act entails bridging the gaps between the protection provided by the law and its implementation by the stakeholders of the juvenile justice system, including all of you, the police, probation officers, juvenile justice boards, child welfare committees, state governments, child care facilities, district magistrates, NGOs, Advocates, and Others who are the foot soldiers that can translate the protection the juvenile justice system provides.”, Justice Bhat said.
He expressed the hope that the two-day event would provide answers to the problems encountered in the shared effort to bring effective and prompt justice to the POCSO victims and, more importantly, to restore their confidence in themselves and society and assist in rescuing them from the pit of victimhood.