CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today directed the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to provide counselling within 24 hours to a 11-year-old hearing impaired girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by 17 men here.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha gave the direction when a mention was made about the incident and also the alleged rape of a Russian tourist.
When advocate Suryaprakasam and Padam Narayanan of NGO Change India made the mention, the chief justice observed that the incidents were unfortunate.
Noting that the police have registered a case and are investigating it, she directed the DLSA to give counselling to the minor girl through the District Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours.
Narayanan submitted that according to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the police should have intimated the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours of the crime against the girl and filing of FIR.
But, even after four days of the crime, the CWC and the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights have no clue of the whereabouts of the minor victim, he alleged.
He further submitted that there was an urgent need for psychological counselling, medical intervention, relief and rehabilitation of the victim.
Alleging that the police was not treating the CWC as an entity, he said the police was violating norms in a highhanded manner.
Narayanan further brought to the notice of the chief justice that no appointments were made to CWCs for all the 32 districts in the state for the past three years.
To this, the chief justice ordered the appointment of CWCs immediately.
Justice Banerjee also directed that the matter with regard to CWCs be placed before the second division bench headed by Justice Huluwadi G Ramesh.
When social activist Traffic Ramaswamy made a mention before the bench on the attack on the accused in the minor girl rape case yesterday by some advocates when they were brought to the court, the chief justice said the court will look into it.
The girl was allegedly raped multiple times over the past seven months, and 17 of her suspected tormentors were arrested here with some beaten up and dragged down the stairwell of a court yesterday by angry lawyers.
Six people have been detained by police for allegedly sexually assaulting the 21-year-old Russian woman who is here on a tour.