Special Courts for POCSO Cases | 26 Jul 2019

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to set up special courts to deal exclusively with Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases.

  • Special courts will be established under a Central scheme (fully funded by the Centre) 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.
  • The Centre would have to appoint trained, sensitised prosecutors and support persons to deal with the POCSO cases (deals with crime against minor).
  • Supreme court has also directed states to ensure there is no delay in Forensic Sciences Laboratories (FSL) releasing test reports in POCSO cases.
  • Supreme Court has found that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which is mandated to monitor implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, does not have any data on POCSO cases in the country.

Problems in NCPCR

  • NCPCR still follows an outdated format of data collection, which only lists out state wise number of nodal officers, special courts, special prosecutors, whether the victim has received compensation, etc.
  • It doesn’t collect or maintain district-wise data on POCSO cases before the police or courts, nor does it have disaggregated data as per various sections of POCSO Act.
  • NCPCR has started the process of developing a new online tool and format for data collection in 2018 but the portal is still is its testing period.

Pendency in POCSO Cases

  • Nearly 1.5 lakh cases under POCSO Act are pending.
  • Uttar Pradesh has the most cases pending (over 44,000 )followed by Maharashtra (over 19,000 cases).
  • According to National Crime Records Bureau around 89% (in 2016) of the total cases before the courts are pending trial while the pendency rate at the police investigation stage is 31%.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

  • NCPCR was established in March 2007 as a statutory body under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
  • It was set up to protect, promote and defend child rights in the country.

Functions of NCPCR under POCSO Act

  • To monitor the implementation of the provisions of the POCSO Act.
  • Monitor the designation of Special Courts by state governments.
  • Monitor the appointment of Public Prosecutors by state governments.
  • Monitor formulation of the guidelines described in the Act by the state government.

Source: IE