Gauhati HC issues new guidelines for POCSO, CrPC Cases

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In order to handle criminal appeals, revisions, and petitions pertaining to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 439(1A) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the Gauhati High Court in Assam has released new practice guidelines.

These rules are intended to safeguard victims’ rights and guarantee that pertinent parties receive the appropriate notification.

In situations where the Indian Penal Code (IPC) include sections 376, 376-A, 376-DA, and 376-DB that deal with serious sexual offenses, the High Court or Court of Session is required to inform the Public Prosecutor within 15 days of receiving the bail application before granting bail.

The informant or their designated representative must get written notification from the investigating officer (IO) of their entitlement to attend the bail hearing. This correspondence, in the format specified (“Annexure A”), needs to be sent with the bail application’s reply or status report. The informant or authorized representative’s attendance will be ensured by the court using all reasonable means.

A copy of the bail application, appeal, revision, or petition will be served by the Registry to the Public Prosecutor, who will then submit it to the Officer-in-Charge or the IO of the relevant police station. The victim, guardian, or support person must then be informed of the High Court’s proceedings by the officer(s).

The victim/guardian/support person must be included as a party in every such application/appeal/revision/petition filed in the High Court. While impleading the victim, the court will strictly adhere to the guidelines in Section 33(7) of the POCSO Act to protect their identity. A formal notice will be issued to the impleaded party through the IO/Officer-in-Charge.

In the event that the victim, guardian, or support person is unable to pay for legal representation, the notification to them will also advise them of the availability of free legal aid counsel.

These new policies take immediate effect.

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