Sexual crimes against children: Bihar, MP & Odisha most laggard in pending POCSO cases

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, February 10: Sexual crimes against children continue to rise even while Parliament enacted a stringent law to deter such crimes. That the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) law is not proving to be a deterrent appears evident from rise in cases being reported, and also from the fact that the pending cases are mounting in courts year after year.

The government on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that there were almost two lakh POCSO cases pending in various fast-track courts across the country. The number of pending cases is rising year after year. The data submitted by the government in the Lok Sabha stated that there were about 1.60 lakh pending POCSO cases before the fast track courts in 2020. Such cases climbed to almost 1.90 lakh in 2021.

The data also suggested that while the cases are climbing year after year with sexual crimes against children hardly being checked, the number of fast track courts in the country are seemingly not able to cope up with the sheer number of cases. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha are the top three worst states for the pending cases of sexual crimes against children.

Bihar reported a whopping 15587 pending crime cases of sexual offences against the children in 2022. Bihar also had 14002 such pending cases in 2021, while the number for 2020 was 12132. Ironically, other states over the years have been adding the number of fast track courts, but this appears to be missing in Bihar. The state headed by Nitish Kumar, which has almost been in power in the state since 2005, had 45 fast track courts in 2020. The state had the same number of fast track courts in 2022 also.

Madhya Pradesh followed Bihar with second highest number of pending cases of sexual crime against children, which stood at 12435 in 2022. The state, however, had much higher number of pending cases in 2021 (14139). Madhya Pradesh also failed to increase the number of fast track courts, which stood at 67 in 2022.

Odisha, which is also ruled by Navin Patnaik for more than two decades, came out as the thirst worst state for the pending cases of sexual crimes against children. Odisha in 2022 reported 11754 pending POCSO cases, which was 10613 in 2021 and 6119 in 2020. Odisha has seen alarming rise in the number of cases of sexual crimes against children in the last three years. However, Odisha has increased the number of fast track courts from 15 in 2022 to 44 in 2022.

There were a total of 198208 POCSO pending cases in 2022. Such pending cases in 2021 were 184943. Pending POCSO cases in 2020 were 158843. The number of fast track courts in the country increased to 768 in 2022 against 599 in 2020.

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