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Asking minor victims in POCSO cases to go into cage-like witness boxes traumatising: Kerala HC

By Rintu Mariam Biju      09 January, 2024 02:06 PM      0 Comments
Asking minor victims in POCSO cases to go into cage like witness boxes traumatising Kerala HC

KOCHI: Reportedly, the Kerala High Court on Monday voiced concerns pertaining to the conditions underwhich minor victims of sexual offences give their statements in special courts established under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

While hearing a bail application of an accused against whom crimes were registered under the POCSO Act, the counsel for the bail applicant relied on the minor survivor's statement. This was done in an attempt to push for bail.

To this, Justice Sophy Thomas said that children are expected to testify under such 'unfavourable conditions' and this may scare them. Asking children to go into a "cage" is traumatising, the Court highlighted.

"In POCSO courts, there is a box in which children are to be deposed. It is meant for the victim and it is just like a kennel. Children will be scared just to enter it. Asking children to go into that cage could itself be very traumatising", the judge reportedly stated.


Adding on, she opined that witness boxes are so restrictive that it doesn't even let in any light like dog kennels do.

"Only their faces are visible. Even dog kennels have bars which let light in. Here the children are put into a closed box from which only their face is visible so that the accused cannot see them? ," Justice Thomas remarked.

In order to ensure that the minor victims doesn't have to face the perpetrator and keeping  in mind their safety & privacy, there are several safeguards within the POCSO Act itself. Seperate and child friendly witness boxes, refraining from calling the minor complainant repeatedly for recording statements, bringing the victim through a seperate entrance, accused not to be brought in contact with the child, among others, are a few of the child-friendly procedures.



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