The Hon’ble Calcutta High Court has directed the State Chief Secretary to file an affidavit regarding the availability of trained psychologists to counsel the minor child victims of sexual acts and juveniles. The Court also reiterated to Section 39 of POSCO Act, which set some guiding principles to be followed and rights of victims to be recognised. For the effective protection and rehabilitation of minor victims and juveniles, it is necessary to have proper counselling with trained psychologists.
There is a dearth of trained psychologists to provide counselling of victims of sexual abuse to which Division Bench of Calcutta High Court took a critical note. They have directed the Chief Secretary of West Bengal Government to submit an affidavit mentioning about the number of trained psychologists available in medical institutions or the department of Women & Child Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal. A similar direction has been given to the Chairperson of State Commission for the protection of Child Rights. The petition was filed by Madan Barman against the State of West Bengal regarding the report by the Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee which appears that the Committee has requested the Principal, Raiganj Government Medical College and Hospital to provide trained psychologists to counsel minor victim and tenor of the report have indicated a chronic lack of trained psychologists. The submission of the committee will have to disclose the guidelines, if any, framed under the Section 39 of Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO Act) to ensure adequate participation of psychologists during the investigation and trial of POCSO cases.
The submission of chairperson Women & Child Development and Social Welfare will contain steps taken in the matter of framing guidelines under Section 39 of the Act concerning the availability of Psychologists in psychological counselling of victims. There should be immediate steps for psychological counselling and grant of interim compensation to the victim in the present case and order was made by the bench comprising of Justices Suvra Ghosh and Joymalya Bagchi.
Details of the Case:-
Petitioner: Madan Barman
Opposite Party: State of West Bengal
Advocates: Kaushik Chowdury (Petitioner)
Sandip Chakraborty (State)
Case No: C. R. M. 7933 of 2019
Case Title: In Re: An application for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
- Supreme Court directed every State to appoint Public Prosecutor in Special Courts for trying POCSO cases.
- Training to Special Public Prosecutor in the field of Child Psychology, Child Behaviour, health issues, etc by State Government.
- Special Prosecutor under The POCSO Act should not deal in other cases and statutory mandate under Section 32.
- They need to know how to bring out the truth from Children who are victims of sexual offences.
- Principles for use of experts and experts assisting the Child at pre-trial and trial stages are;
- Right to life and Survival
- The best interests of the child
- The right to be treated with dignity and compassion
- The right to be protected from discrimination
- The right to special preventive measures
- The right to be informed
- The Right to privacy
- The Right to Safety
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
- Bar & Bench, without trained psychologists, measures under POCSO remain illusory: Calcutta HC takes critical note https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/without-trained-psychologists-measures-under-pocso-remain-illusory-calcutta-hc-takes-critical-note
- Live Law. in, SC Directs States To Appoint Exclusive Public Prosecutors In POCSO Courtshttps://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/exclusive-public-prosecutors-in-pocso-courts-151551
- Model of Guidelines under Section 39 of the Protection of Child from Sexual offences, the Ministry of Women and Child Development.