July 12, 2017
A child friendly courtroom would be inaugurated in the Madras High Court on July 18. This would be the first such facility in Tamil Nadu and fourth in the country after Goa, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
This is in compliance with the mandate provided under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012 to handle criminal proceedings involving children. The Act recommends that special court be established in every district to handle cases falling under the purview of POSCO.
As per the Act, a child should not be called repeatedly to testify in court. The courts should be equipped with in camera trial facilities and one-way mirrors to protect the identity of the child. It also recommends allowing the presence of parents of the child or anybody whom the child trusts. It specifies that the child should not see the accused while recording evidence, but the accused should be in a position to hear the statement and communicate with the advocate.
Welcoming this, the President of Coimbatore Bar Association, K.M. Dhandapani, said the atmosphere in such rooms would be different from the normal court rooms. “It will save the child from undergoing any kind of embarrassing situations,” he said and added that the State should allocate funds to start such court rooms in each district.
When contacted, many child rights activists said they were not aware of this move.