POCSO Act has supremacy over Atrocities Act, holds Gujarat High Court

Representative Image

The Gujarat High Court has held

that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has supremacy over the Atrocities Act, as the caste of a child cannot override or prejudice his or her security and well-being.

The court gave the ruling on Monday in a case of rape of a minor girl from a scheduled caste, when the Gujarat government objected to the bail plea of the accused not filed as per the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

In its order on maintanability of a bail plea of an accused held for raping a minor who is from a scheduled caste, Justice A S Supehia held that "the caste of a child cannot override or prejudice the security and well-being of a child".

"Thus, a bare glance on the laudable objects of the POCSOAct will illuminate its supremacy on the Atrocity Act though both the Acts can be termed as Special Acts," the court said in its order.

"The comparative analysis of provisions of both the Acts leads to sole conclusion, that the legislature in its wisdom has conferred precedence on the POCSO Act above the Atrocity Act," the HC said.

The court's deliberation on the issue of whether the social status of the child eclipses his or her safety came up in the bail application of the accused, Vikram Maliwad, who has been booked under provisions of both the Acts.

The accused,through his lawyer Rahil Jain, had filed a bail application under Section 439 of the CrPC (dealing with special powers of high court or sessions court regarding bail).

The accused was arrested on May 22 this year and offences were registered at Lunawada police station in the state's Mahisagar district against him under Indian Penal Code sections for rape and disappearance of evidence, as well as provisions of the POCSO Act and the Atrocities Act.

His bail plea was rejected by an additional sessions judge (Special Pocso and Special Atrocity Judge), following which he approached the high court.

The state government opposed his bail on the grounds of maintainability, saying the plea should have been filed under the Atrocities Act Section 14-A(2) (regarding appeal for bail in the HC against an order of a special court granting or refusing bail), and not Section 439 of the CrPC.

The lawyer of the accused argued that the above section will not apply in a case involving offences under both the POCSO and Atrocities Acts. In such a case, only the bail application under CrPC Section 439 would be maintainable, he said.

He also held that the POCSO Act would prevail over the Atrocities Act, and hence the plea has been filed under Section 439 of the CrPC.

Accepting his argument, the high court directed its registry to "register the bail application under Section 439 of the CrPC in case the same is filed pertaining to offences registered under both the POCSO Act and the Atrocity Act".

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel