Taking note of the fact that many minor victims of sexual abuse are made to appear physically or virtually at the time of hearing of bail applications of accused, the Delhi High Court has said the psychological impact on such children is “immensely grave” as arguments and accusations vary from doubting integrity to questioning the character of the victims.
Seeking inputs from Delhi HC Legal Services Committee and Delhi State Legal Services Authority on practice directions that can be issued to tackle the issue, Justice Jasmeet Singh said it is in the interest of the victim that she is not traumatised again by reliving the incident at court proceedings which could be triggering.
“The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/victim is forced to be present in the court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her,” reads an order passed by Justice Singh on August 1.
The court passed the order while deciding a rape convict’s application for suspension of sentence in a 2014 case. In December 2019, the accused was convicted of raping his own daughter and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of 10 years. As per the jail record, the convict has already undergone a sentence of more than seven years and nine months.
Suspending the sentence of the convict, the court said, “The appeal is of the year 2020 and has been admitted on February 18, 2020, and there is no reasonable chance that the appeal would be taken up for hearing in the near future.”
The court has restrained the convict from visiting Rajasthan “under any circumstances” as his wife and daughter live there. He shall not connect with or be in touch with his wife or prosecutrix, the court has said.
“The appellant shall not communicate with, or come into contact with any of the prosecution witnesses, or any member of the victim’s family,” reads the order.