New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Thursday, reserved verdict on a petition raising an important question of law as to whether the Protect-ion of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012, will apply where the mental age of an adult victim of rape or any sexual offence makes her a child, due to her disability.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Rohinton Nariman reserved the verdict on the petition filed by Manjula Kripendorf, mother of a rape victim suffering from cerebral palsy since birth on account of which her mental age is six years although her biological age is 38 years. The bench after hearing counsel Ishwarya Bhati indicated that as the accused had died, the trial will abate as far as he is concerned. But, the question of compensation to victim has to be decided after determining whether she should be tried under Pocso Act or not.
The Pocso Act is a special act to protect children from offences of sexual assault and provide for establishment of special courts for trial of such offences, in accordance with UN Convention on Rights of the Child 1992, with the main objective to secure best interest and well-being of the child as paramount. This Act works towards securing that the tender age of children is not abused and their childhood and youth are protected against exploitation. The Act acknowledges the important objective that interest of the child, both as a victim as well as witness, need to be protected.