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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 20 July 2024 3.24 PM IST

Misuse of POCSO Act; significance of High Court order that police should be vigilant increasing

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One of the maxims of the legal system is that an innocent person should not be punished even if perpetrators get away with it. However, the law often becomes a net to trap the innocent. In order to scare those who get caught, even the police threaten to make them accused in the ganja case and throw them inside. Many stories have come to light of the law's harsh punishments and difficult-to-get-bail clauses being used to target innocent people. The POCSO Act has been framed with the good intention of protecting children from physical and mental abuse. However, there is a growing trend in society to use POCSO cases as a weapon in family feuds.

The High Court order that the police should be vigilant to prevent the misuse of POCSO cases is very significant in this context. The court also observed that this trend is mostly seen to deny the father the rights of the children after the divorce. The POCSO Act is misused when there is enmity between those close to minors. The High Court warned against the misuse of the POCSO Act while considering a petition to quash the final report and further proceedings filed by the Special Court for the trial of the POCSO Act.

The case of the complainant on which the POCSO case was based was that the accused uttered obscene words and made gestures with sexual intent to the victim who was in the yard. In this complaint, the defendant was accused of insulting the dignity of women and sexually assaulting a child. The court pointed out that the case of uttering obscene words in a public place under IPC Section 294 (b) cannot stand as the incident took place in the yard of the house. The act was not committed in a public place or near any public place. Although the words spoken by the accused were found to contain an abusive word according to the prosecution's charge, the court came to the conclusion that it could not be said to be sexual in nature.

Taking into account the fact that there was a fight between the defendant and the victim's father over a road dispute, the High Court cancelled all further proceedings against the petitioner in this matter. Many will try to misuse POCSO cases as the biggest feint to trap someone to settle an old enmity. Therefore, such complaints should be handled by an expert team headed by a senior police officer. Even if those caught in the POCSO case are later proved innocent, till then they have to suffer the scorn of the society. It is also necessary for the police to conduct a detailed preliminary investigation to distinguish between a genuine POCSO case and a fake POCSO case.

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