In the last seven years, Tamil Nadu has witnessed more acquittals than convictions in Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) cases. Only 689 people were convicted, but as many as 2,902 people were acquitted.
Data from 2012 to end of May this year highlights that a total of 37 cases were squashed and another 60 cases were closed due to error in facts.
Till 2017, number of cases under investigation were in two digits but in 2018 it jumped to 269 and in five months in 2019, the number of such cases reached 655 taking the total to 1,054.
Interestingly, number of convictions which peaked in the year 2015 with 190 individuals, drastically came down to 131 in 2016, 56 in 2017 and 29 in 2018.
Similarly, acquittals were also high in 2015 with 813 cases. They came down to 606 in 2016 and 346 in 2017.
According to a senior police officer associated with crimes against women and children unit, a good number of the suspects are acquitted as victims fail to cooperate during trial. “In majority of cases the suspects are either relatives or known to the victims. They reach a compromise and families of victims decide not to proceed,” the officer noted.
In some cases, where victims are aged 16 or 17, families also agree to marry them off to the suspects. “Families of the victims initially decide to fight the case. But once they come to know that the two were in love, they decide to marry the girl off to the suspect after she turns 18,” the officer said, citing it as another reason for a large number of acquittals in Pocso cases.