SC orders setting up of special courts in districts with over 100 pending POCSO cases

  1. The Supreme Court has ordered the government to set up special courts in those districts where more than 100 cases of sexual offences against children are pending.
  2. The special court will be set up under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act. The court will only hear sexual assault cases against children and will ensure speedy trial.
  3. The Supreme Court has given the Centre 30 days’ time to arrange the funds needed for infrastructure, and appointment of judges, support staff and prosecutors. The court has also directed solicitor general to furnish a progress report on 26th September.
  4. The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age.
  5. Recently, the government has introduced Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019.
  6. The amendment bill provides for gender neutral application of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for aggravated penetrative sexual assault of both girl and boy below 16 years of age.
  7. For the first time, the bill carries a definition of child pornography and provide for levy of fines and imprisonment of up to 5years to curb child pornography.
  8. Amendments are also proposed to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities.