The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the setting up of special courts in each district across the country that had over a 100 cases of child abuse and sexual assault pending trial under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, reported The Hindu.
A Bench led by the Chief Justice of India directed the courts to be set up within 60 days. They will be established under a Central scheme and fully funded by the Centre. This means the Centre would fund everything from the payment of the presiding officers, staff and support persons to the court’s child-friendly infrastructure, The Hindu reported.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has been asked to file a progress report in four weeks. The court said it would take up the matter again on September 26, The Hindu reported.
The order came on a suo motu public interest litigation petition registered by the Supreme Court after being concerned by the “alarming rise” in child abuse cases and their long pendency in courts, The Hindu reported.
“We are concerned about States where there is hardly any infrastructure; where the Magistrate has hardly any room; where he or she sits in a small four-by-four enclosure. These presiding officers lack basic infrastructure yet are snowed under by cases under new laws… New law means new responsibility and additional burden for them…These are the real issues which affect the judiciary and not the Supreme Court Collegium,” Chief Justice Gogoi addressed the courtroom.
The court said the support persons in these special courts, who perform the crucial role of a bridge between the child victim and the court’s officers and investigators, should comprise dedicated people who had excellent academic qualifications and devoted to child rights, reported The Hindu.
The court, though it deferred any orders for the establishment of exclusive forensic laboratories for POCSO cases, ordered the directors of the existing ones to deal with POCSO case evidence promptly to cause no delay in the probe or trial of such cases, reported The Hindu.
The court had registered the PIL plea under the title ‘In-re Alarming Rise in The Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents,” reported The Hindu.