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Principal District Judge awards compensation to 3 rape victims

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Trial held at Vulnerable Witness Court Complex, Srinagar

SRINAGAR, MARCH 10: Principal District & Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Abdul Rashid Malik who has been designated as Special Court for District Srinagar for trial of the Protection of the Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) cases, has  awarded interim compensation of Rs. 3.00 lac  each as interim  compensation in three cases, here today.

The compensation was awarded in favor of the victims of rape and sexual assault in FIR No. 115/2019 P/S Nigeen Srinagar, FIR No. 49/2019 P/S Soura, Srinagar, and FIR No. 06/2019 P/S Shergari, Srinagar, with direction to the Member Secretary, J&K State Legal Services Authority to release the interim compensation forthwith in favor of the victims.

The 11 cases filed under the POCSO Act are being fast tracked.

Pertinently, the Vulnerable Witness Deposition Complex, Srinagar which was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of J&K High Court on March 16, 2019, has become fully functional.

Chief Justice has formulated a protocol for recording evidence of vulnerable witness in Jammu and Kashmir in terms of Notification No. 42 dated 29th of May 2019.

As per  the Protocol,  the Vulnerable witness means any child witness who has not  completed 18 years  of age or any victim of sexual  violence or any material witness in dangerous crime and such other witness, as may be deemed Vulnerable by  the Trial Courts.

The proceedings in POCSO cases are held in Camera. The Victim of Sexual assault is being provided assistance of a Support Person who is usually a lady lawyer. The victim does not come in interface with the accused or the Counsel for the accused. During the trial of the cases under POCSO Act, all precautions are being taken to ensure a child friendly atmosphere in the Court. The questions are asked to the victim in a form which are appropriate to the developmental level of vulnerable witness and questions are allowed in simple language.

There is protection of privacy and safety as the record regarding the vulnerable witness is kept confidential and under-seal. The depositions of the vulnerable witnesses are recorded by a video link.

There are protective measures in the Court Room like avoiding of direct or indirect contact between vulnerable witness and accused or opposite party at any point of justice process. Trial is being conducted on fast-track basis to ensure that the trials in the cases of rape and sexual abuse are concluded within the stipulated time as envisaged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

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