The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Central government to create exclusive special courts under POCSO Act for speedy trial of sexual assault cases against children. The apex court said that one such court should be set up in each district where there are more than 100 pending cases.
The top court has set a 60-day deadline to ensure that such courts begin to function. The Centre has been asked to allocate funds to create such courts, the appointment of judges, support staff and special prosecutors. The matter will be taken up by the court next on September 26.
The direction was given after a report by amicus curiae V Giri and Registry of the Supreme Court showed that at present only 670 POCSO courts have been formed to deal with over 1.5 lakh pending cases of child rapes. Further, the report stated that at present one judge was handling 224 cases on an average daily basis. If cases under POCSO are to be disposed within a year the country needs a ratio of 1:60 which requires three times the strength of courts presently available.
The direction comes a day after Rajya Sabha passed a bill seeking amendments to the POCSO Act by including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children. The bill also seeks stringent punishments for other crimes against minors. The bill has been sent to Lok Sabha for approval.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 also provides for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.