The Delhi High Court has asked its Registry to inform it whether there are any existing court rulings or practice directions that require impleadment of victims or prosecutrix as a respondent in bails or criminal appeals relating to sexual offences under the IPC or Pocso Act.
Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani has asked the Registry to file its response in the light of facts while listing the matter for further hearing on January 6, 2023.
The court said that the identity of victim or prosecutrix is supposed to be protected and kept confidential in all such proceedings.
“Section 439 (1-A) of the CrPC and practice directions dated September 24, 2019, which only require that victim or informant or any person authorised ‘be heard’ at the time of hearing of a bail application for certain offences.
“Let a report be filed in response to the query, before the next date,” said the court.
The court was hearing a bail application of a man accused of sexual assault on minor girl and facing an FIR registered under Section 376 of IPC and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act at Jaitpur police station in Delhi.
The court had asked the state to file a status report on the bail plea, which said that the complainant’s presence is required at the hearing of the bail application on the next date and directed the investigating officer (IO) to inform her.
Responding to the court’s question, the man’s representative said why the girl has been impleaded in the matter is because he was specifically asked by the Registry to make the victim or prosecutrix a party-respondent.
The court said: “In the circumstances, the Registrar (Filing) is directed to inform this court as to whether there is any ruling by any court or any practice directions issued, requiring the impleadment of a victim/prosecutrix/informant as a respondent (even if anonymised) in bail applications or criminal appeals relating to sexual offences under the IPC or the POCSO Act.”
Moreover, the petitioner was told to remove the girl’s name from the list of parties and file an amended memo of parties.