NEW DELHI More than 36000 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, in 2016, Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said.
Responding to a question in the Lok Sabha, She said that the number of cases registered increased by 0.2% in 2015 over 2014, and by 4.4% in 2016 over 2015.
N.K. Premachandran, the Lok Sabha Member representing Kollam constituency from the Revolutionary Socialist Party, had asked the Minister about the number of cases registered under the Act over the last five years. Mr. Premachandran also asked if the government had initiated any action plan for establishment of special courts for timely disposal of the cases.
To this, the Minister replied that a provision under section 28 of the Act already exists, enabling the government to set up Special Courts for each district for the purpose.
The need for special courts needs to emphasised due to the fact that the disposal rate in POCSO cases has been low. For instance, the closure rate of POCSO cases was just 31% across States and Union Territories in 2016, a slight improvement since 2014, when only 22% of the cases were disposed of.
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According to the annexure given by Ms. Irani, Uttar Pradesh had the most number of cases registered in 2016, with 4,954 cases. Maharashtra came a close second with 4,815 cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 4,717 cases.
Uttar Pradesh, though, has seen a drop in the number of cases in three years. In 2014, over 8,000 cases were reported. That number fell by almost 40% by the time 2016 ended. Maharashtra, on the other hand, has seen an increase, from 3,926 to 4,815 cases.
One part of the question in Parliament was what the government was doing to increase awareness about the law, and to shape public opinion about such crimes. Ms. Irani responded that section 43 of the Act says that both the Centre and States should give wide publicity to provisions of the law.