‘Trial for every rape case should be completed within 10 months’

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 15th May: 
Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) member Keisham Pradipkumar has said that every rape case is required to complete trial and convict the accused within 10 months as per new rules framed by the Centre.
Pradipkumar was speaking as resource person during a one-day district level workshop on ‘JJ Act 2015, POCSO Act 2012 and Child Rights’ organised by the commission at Tribal Research Institute (TRI) Chingmeirong on Tuesday.
Talking on ‘Gap and challenges in the implementation of POCSO Act (customary laws, social issues, administrative issues)’, Pradipkumar pointed out that trial for rape case used to take several years in the past. However, under a new rule, police investigation for rape case should be completed within two months instead of the earlier three months. Trial should also be completed in two months while appeals could be made within six months, which sum up to 10 months in total, he said.
With the implementation of Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 2018, death penalty will be awarded to those accused of raping minors under the age of 12 years. Likewise, there are amendment in CrPC and IPC in relation with rape case, he said.
Observing that conviction rate for rape case is low in the state, Pradipkumar emphasised on the need for developing better coordination and cooperation among the stakeholders like police, CWCs, judiciary, social welfare department and NGOs to reduce the administrative gap and improve conviction rate.
Customary laws are also a major hurdle in proper implementation of POCSO Act in the state. Even if FIRs were filed in different cases under POCSO Act, reaching to an understanding or agreement as per the customary laws resulted in both parties withdrawing the FIR consensually. Elopement, which is a common culture in the state, is also another complication in the implementation of POCSO Act, he said. He also stressed the need for bringing certain changes in the customary laws and traditions in the society in order to ensure a smooth way to implement the Act to safeguard the underage members of the society.
The workshop recommended the government to set up a child friendly court room, child friendly police station, ICPS to bear medical fee for immediate medical treatment or examination of any victim of sexual assault, free medical treatment to such victims in hospitals, and appointment of child counsellor in every school to save children from drug abuse and behavioural issues.
MCPCR chairperson Sumatibala Ningthoujam, DIGP (CID-CB) RK Meme and registrar of High Court of Manipur RK Memcha attended the programme as presidium members.
In the technical session, LMS Law College lecturer advocate Dr Ch Narendra talked on ‘An overview of JJ Act 2015’ while CWC Imphal West chairperson advocate Thiyam Rajkishore on ‘An overview of POCSO Act 2012’ as resource persons.


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