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Special prosecutors needed for POCSO cases: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: Public prosecutors must be trained to deal with child victims and witnesses in sexual harassment cases, the Supreme Court has said and laid emphasis on the need to develop a programme to train them.

The SC said there is a need to have exclusive special public prosecutors for cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

“They need to know how to bring out the truth from children who are victims of sexual abuse and have to undergo the trauma again while recounting the traumatic experience… Not only is there a need to have exclusive public prosecutors but there is also a need to develop a training programme where these special public prosecutors should be trained to deal with issues which will arise in their courts. These issues may not be confined to legal issues which otherwise public prosecutors may be trained to deal with. The issues may be psychological, health and other related issues,” a bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said.

The SC directed all states to appoint exclusive public prosecutors in all the courts set up exclusively for POCSO cases.

“We request Chief Justices of High Courts to ensure that in the judicial academy of the state special programmes are developed so that these special public prosecutors attached to POCSO courts are imparted training not only in law but also child psychology and behaviour.

“We also request Director of the National Judicial Academy (nja) to ensure that training programme is developed in the NJA to train master trainers who can then work in the judicial academies in each state. We realise that NJA can’t train all special public prosecutors, but they can prepare a team of master trainers who can travel, to impart training to persons appointed as special public prosecutors,” the bench said.