The Delhi High Court dismissed the notion that the POCSO Act is a “gender-based” law, emphasizing its gender-neutral nature.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma strongly objected to an accused’s request to re-cross-examine the victim under the POCSO Act, deeming it insensitive and misleading. The judge emphasized that laws shouldn’t be discontinued due to potential misuse, as they aim to prevent offenses and provide justice to genuine victims.
In a recent order, the court stated that the claim that the POCSO Act is gender-based and therefore misused is not just inappropriate but also inaccurate. The court clarified that the POCSO Act is neutral with regard to child victims.
The court underlined that any law, whether gender-based or not, can be misused, but that should not halt the enactment or application of laws intended to combat offenses and ensure justice for victims.
The court declined the request for re-cross examination of a victim who was seven years old during a 2016 incident, and her mother, citing a duty to treat the minor victim’s situation with sensitivity. The court pointed out that subjecting them to further trauma after six years of their initial testimony would be unjust.
Notably, the court observed that a significant time had passed since the victim and her mother testified in the trial court.
The court acknowledged the accused’s right to a fair trial but also stressed the importance of safeguarding the complainant’s right to a fair trial, particularly in cases of sexual assault, to prevent unnecessary harassment.
(With PTI inputs)