The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed an amendment bill for POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences). The bill will now be presented in Lok Sabha for approval. The amendments include death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children and will also provide stringent punishments for other crimes against minors. The bill also provides for fines and imprisonment to those encouraging child pornography.

To ensure the quality of justice dispensed, an evaluation would be done through an institution empanelled by Niti Aayog with regards to this process, which the government is about to undertake.

In response to this, the Supreme Court has also asked the government to set up fast track courts particularly for POCSO cases. The centre has been asked to allocate funds so that such types of courts can be set up. This will include appointing judges, support staff and special prosecutors. The court has also given the government a 60-days deadline for such courts to start functioning. The matter will be next taken up by the court on September 26.

1023 Fast Track Courts To Be Set Up For POCSO

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani says, the government is setting up 1023 fast track courts, which would specifically be dealing with the cases that come under POCSO. “Recognising that justice delayed is justice denied, the government has sanctioned 1023 fast track courts, particularly to be made for dispensing cases which were pending under POCSO,” she added.

“What we touch today is just the tip of the iceberg as many cases are swept under the carpets,” she said. This she said in reference to Derek O Brien’s comment that “many cases are not spoken about as the perpetrator happens to be known to the victim and happens to be a part of the victim’s family.”

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani says, the government is setting up 1023 fast track courts, which would specifically be dealing with the cases that come under POCSO.

Only 670 POCSO Courts To Deal With 1.5 Lakh Pending Cases

The Supreme Court ordered for the setting up of these fast track courts 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. 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 Government reached out to each state and 18 states have consented to set up these courts. We have ensured that an expenditure of Rs 767 crore of which the government of India support would be Rs 474 crore is now given so that these fast track courts are established within the limited time frame of 2019-2021,” Irani said, adding that this reflects the priority of the government.

Irani further added, “To ensure the quality of justice dispensed, an evaluation would be done through an institution empanelled by Niti Aayog with regards to this process, which the government is about to undertake.”

Read More: Fast Track Courts To Deal With Pending Cases Of Crime Against Women

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