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Court sought a comprehensive affidavit providing information on both sets of forensic experts, including the number of posts created and personnel deployed since the December 5, 2019 affidavit
The Delhi High Court has directed the state government to provide detailed information on the number and trial stage of sexual assault cases involving both minors and adults.
A bench comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Girish Kathpalia instructed authorities to specify the location, facilities, manpower, and roles of personnel in One Stop Centers (OSCs)—facilities established to support women affected by violence.
OSCs play a crucial role in providing assistance to victims within families, communities, and workplaces.
The court directed the Delhi government to submit a fresh affidavit outlining the actual status of complaints received, conversion into FIRs under the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and the progress of cases, differentiating between adults and children.
The court specifically sought information on the number of cases with filed charge sheets, those undergoing trial, and those at the stage of oral arguments.
Inquiring about the qualifications of OSC counsellors and the potential appointment of psychologists and psychiatrists, the bench emphasized clarity on the expertise of personnel dealing with sexual assault cases.
The court's directives stem from two separate petitions filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Delhi Citizen Forum for Civil Rights, addressing a compensation scheme for minor victims of sexual assault. During the proceedings, the bench scrutinized a previous affidavit by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), referencing a proposal for 112 technical posts, specifically for cyber forensics. However, the court expressed concerns about the lack of clarity regarding the presence of forensic experts specializing in biological aspects.
The bench sought a comprehensive affidavit providing information on both sets of forensic experts, including the number of posts created and personnel deployed since the December 5, 2019 affidavit.
The court stressed that the responsible departments or individuals must file the affidavit and encouraged multiple affidavits if needed for a more detailed understanding of the situation.
To further investigate the OSCs, the bench appointed advocate Aparna Bhat as a local commissioner and tasked her with visiting the centers and submitting a report to the court. The case is scheduled for further hearing on December 14, 2023.
Case Title: Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India & Ors. (connected matters)
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