POCSO process, application for transfer, stay and warning
Morung Express News
Dimapur | 20th November
It was late July last year when Noklak was briefly in the news in connection with an alleged incident of sexual misconduct involving the county’s top bureau. On July 27, 2021, two girls filed a complaint with the Noklak Police Station, which accused the then-deputy commissioner of the district of sexual misconduct. The effect of the complaint was that the Nagaland state government moved the DC from Noklak to Kohima the next day.
It also had the Nagaland State Women Commission (NSCW) send an investigative team to Noklak, after which it wrote to the Chief Secretary of Nagaland to expedite the investigation into the case.
Four days after filing the complaint, the case was registered with the Noklak PS to be eventually taken over by the State Crime Police Station, Kohima.
The case has been sitting in the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court for over a year after the defendant, IAS officer Reny Wilfred, moved court to seek the transfer of the case from Tuensang to another court. Wilfred is currently Joint Secretary, IDAN.
According to the court documents, the defendant filed the Section 402 CrPC motion to transfer the case to the POCSO Special Court, Tuensang, where he was on trial. Charges brought against him include IPC Sections 354, 376, 511, along with Sections 8 and 10 of the Child Protection Against Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO).
An order issued by the Kohima Benchmark on June 16, 2022 states: “The petitioner stood before the Court of Learned Special Judge, POCSO in Tuensang in GR Case No. 58/2021, and there he faced serious threats to his life and of his personal freedom, and there is also a fear that he will never get a free and fair trial in the POCSO court in Tuensang as the social media campaign is against him…”
The higher court suspended the proceedings before the POCSO Special Court until the request for transfer had been dealt with.
Subsequent proceedings in the transfer hearing concluded that the filing of “pletes” was closed. A court order dated October 27 set the date of the “admission hearing” as November 10. It added, “It is clarified that there will be no further adjournment of the case.” Beginning with the hearing on June 16, the motion for transfer has been heard up to 7 times, most recently on November 10.
During the hearing on 10 November, the petitioner’s lawyer requested that the case be adjourned to another date. This was contradicted by the defendant’s lawyer – the complainant in the Noklak case. Citing the interest of justice, the court gave the petitioner “one last chance”, but with a warning that if “the petitioner fails to appear to pursue the case”, the stay of the POCSO court proceedings would be annulled, next set Appointment on 22.11.