POCSO Act, being a Special Act for the protection of children would prevail over Atrocities Act
The court gave the ruling on Monday (5th October) 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.
The accused was arrested on 22nd May 2020 and offences were registered at Lunawada police station in the state’s Mahisagar district against him under IPC sections for rape and disappearance of evidence, as well as provisions of the POCSO Act and the Atrocities Act.
The accused had filed a bail application under Section 439 of the CrPC (dealing with special powers of high court or sessions court regarding bail).
His bail plea was rejected by an additional sessions judge (Special POCSO and Special Atrocity Judge), following which he approached the high court.
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.
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”.
In its order on maintainability of a bail plea of the accused, 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 POCSO Act will illuminate its supremacy on the Atrocity Act though both the Acts can be termed as Special Acts,”
the court highlighted in its order.
The Hon’ble Court said that “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,”
In this case, 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.