The Supreme Court  (File photo)
The Supreme Court (File photo)

SC directs Centre to set up special courts in districts with over 100 POCSO cases

ANI | Updated: Jul 25, 2019 21:30 IST

New Delhi [India], July 25 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to fund and set up within 60 days exclusive courts in every district where 100 or more cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act are pending.
"In each district of the country, if there are more than 100 cases under the POCSO Act, an exclusive/designated special Court will be set up, which will try no other offence except those under the POCSO Act," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said in its order.
It noted that such courts will be set up under a central scheme and will be funded by the central government.
The fund will not only take care of the appointment of the presiding officer but also the appointments support persons, special public prosecutors, court staff and infrastructure including the creation of child-friendly environment and vulnerable witness courtrooms, the bench said.
"We would expect our above-stated directions to be implemented and exclusively designated Courts to try offences under the POCSO Act, in terms of the above directions, to start functioning within 60 days from the date of the present order," it said.
The court asked the Centre to file a progress report in four weeks.
It also observed that the chief secretaries of all states should ensure the effective functioning of the forensic science laboratories (FSL).
The matter was listed for further hearing on September 26.
The order came after amicus curiae and senior advocate V Giri submitted his report on the directions of the court.
The court had earlier this month registered a suo motu public interest litigation after expressing concern over "alarming rise" in child abuse cases.
It had on July 15 asked its registry to collate district-wise data from the registrars of all the high courts on the total number of child rape cases and how long these have been pending.
In his report, Giri submitted there is a lack of proper judicial infrastructure for the trial of POCSO cases.
He said that there should be a person to support the victim from the beginning of registration of such cases. "Statement of the victim child should be taken within 30 days," he stated.
The amicus curiae pleaded the court to instruct the authorities to ensure the inclusion of sex education in the school curriculum.
"It must be ensured that sex education is included in the curriculum for children along with information about offences under the POCSO Act," he said.
Supreme Court Registrar SS Rathi informed the bench that national average for disposal of POCSO cases between 2014 and 2018 was 24 per cent. Rathi had been tasked with collating data relating to the special courts and pendency and disposal rates of such cases across the country.
Rathi told the court that Mizoram disposed of 52 per cent POCSO cases every year while Odisha stood at the last position (12 per cent disposal rate) in the list.
Delhi disposed of seven per cent of the total POCSO cases in the last six month, Rathi submitted.
With over 44,000 cases, Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of pending cases under POCSO Act since 2012 whereas over 19,000 such cases are pending in Maharashtra, he said.
The pendency rate has risen by 1533 per cent in the last years, the registrar said.
Rathi also informed the bench that victims are not getting the compensation. "Only four per cent and five per cent victims received compensation in 2016 and 2017 respectively," Rathi conveyed. (ANI)