The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to fund and set up exclusive courts in every district where 100 or more cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act are pending.
The special courts for the trial of cases of sexual offences against children should start functioning with 60 days, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta ordered. These courts will not hear any other cases except those under the POCSO Act, it said.
The fund will not only take care of the appointment of presiding officers but also court staff, support staff, besides the infrastructure for vulnerable court complexes, the court noted. It asked the Centre to file a progress report in four weeks.
The bench also directed the chief secretaries of all states to ensure the effective functioning of the forensic science laboratories (FSL).
The order came after amicus curiae and senior advocate V Giri submitted his report on the directions of the court. Giri said there is a lack of proper judicial infrastructure for the trial of POCSO cases.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had 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.
The special courts for the trial of cases of sexual offences against children should start functioning with 60 days, said the SC.