Symbiosis Law School Pune, constituent of Symbiosis International (Deemed University) organized the Virtual Book Release and Discussion on “Decoding Child Sexual Abuse: A Socio-Legal Analysis of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012’’authored by Hon’ble Dr. Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, Former Judge, High Court of Bombay and Distinguished Visiting Judge Scholar in Residence, Symbiosis Law School, Pune on 22nd January 2022 at 11:00 A.M. IST. The event was held in collaboration with OakBridge Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Judge Supreme Court of India, graced the event as Chief Guest and delivered the keynote address. The event was presided by Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, Hon’ble Chancellor, SIU Founder & President, Symbiosis. Also, Dr. Rajani Gupte, Vice-Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University) graced the occasion.
The event was also graced by the august presence of a galaxy of legal luminaries Hon’ble Justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Hon’ble Justice Mohit Shah, Former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court (Retd.), Hon’ble Justice Roshan Dalvi (Retd.), Hon’ble Justice Mrudula Bahatkar (Retd.), Hon’ble Justice Vasanti Naik (Retd.), Hon’ble Justice Vibha Kankanwadi, Hon’ble Justice Sarang Kotwal, Hon’ble Justice Revati Mohite-Dhere, Hon’ble Justice Shreeram, Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court and Hon’ble Justice Soniya Gokani Gujarat High Court.
The event commenced with a ceremonial lighting of the lamp. Dr. Shashikala Gurpur, Fulbright Scholar, Director, SLS-P, Dean, Faculty of Law, SI (DU), Jean Monnet Chair Professor in EU Climate Justice Law, Governance, Management and Policy welcomed all the esteemed dignitaries and congratulated Hon’ble Dr. Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi for authoring a book on a pertinent topic. Dr. Gurpur noted that this book would become a handbook for legislators and enforcement authorities.
The Presidential address was delivered by Dr. S.B. Mujumdar, Hon’ble Chancellor, SIU, Founder & President, Symbiosis, who congratulated Hon’ble Dr. Justice Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi on the book release. He laid emphasis on continuing the practical based learning as it enriches the student experience and credited field experts like Hon’ble Dr. Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi for the same.
Hon’ble Dr. Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi introduced her book and its themes mentioning that “child sexual abuse is the most closely guarded secret of families and the society.” She elucidated the objectives of the book were to create awareness and suggest measures to prevent child abuse. She acknowledged the infinite support received from Hon’ble Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge Supreme Court of India, Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, Oak Bridge Publishing House, and others. She dedicated the book to all the victims of child abuse who personally interacted with her and inspired her to write the book.
The book was released by Chief Guest Hon’ble Mr. Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Judge Supreme Court of India, in the presence of Dr. S.B. Mujumdar, Dr. Rajani Gupte, Dr. Shashikala Gurpur, Justice Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi and other dignitaries. The Chief Guest, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka delivered his keynote address. He recounted his professional collaboration with Dr. Justice Joshi and congratulated her on the book release. Justice Oka elaborated that there are several cases where children silently suffer sexual abuse due to unawareness. Delving on the issues discussed in the book, Justice Oka highlighted shortcomings in judicial infrastructure, lack of sensitization among police personnel and absence of trained and specialized lawyers in handling the cases related to child abuse. Lastly, Justice Oka urged the need for a scientific audit of the provisions of the POCSO Act to ascertain the loopholes that need to be addressed by the legislature.
Dr. Shashikala Gurpur delivered a prelude to the book. She lauded the foreword penned down by Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and commended the author on finding unique solutions to the issue. Having delivered the prelude, Dr. Gurpur engaged with the author on pertinent questions regarding the themes of the book and the journey of writing it. Further, Dr. Gurpur and Dr. Justice Joshi discussed the inspiration behind the book, the need for an inter-disciplinary approach, and the role of community in preventing child sexual abuse. Finally, Dr. Gurpur concluded the book discussion and wished for its wider circulation. She also mentioned that the book should be translated into other vernacular languages to create awareness about child abuse across the country.
After discussion on the book, a Question-and-Answer session was moderated by Lasya Vyakaranam, Assistant Professor, Symbiosis Law School Pune. Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi responded to the queries. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Shreesh Chandra, Director, OakBridge Publishing Pvt. Ltd., who conveyed his gratitude to the dignitaries and audience members for making the event a success. The event ended with the National Anthem.