The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 provides for establishment of Special Courts for trying the offences under the POCSO Act. The POCSO Act has adequate provisions to ensure that child-friendly procedures are adopted by Special Courts during the trial. These include the following:
- The Special Court shall create child-friendly atmosphere by allowing a family member, a guardian, a friend or a relative, in whom the child has trust or confidence, to be present in the court [Section 33(4)];
- The Special Court may, if it considers necessary, permit frequent breaks for the child during the trial [Section 33(3)];
- The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not called repeatedly to testify in the court [Section 33(5)];
- The Special Court shall not permit aggressive questioning or character assassination of the child and ensure that dignity of the child is maintained at all times during the trial [Section 33(6)];
- The Special Court shall ensure that the identity of the child is not disclosed at any time during the course of investigation or trial [Section 33(7)];
- The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence [Section 37];
- The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in any way to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence [Section 36(1)];
- The Act provides that whenever necessary, the Court may take the assistance of a translator or interpreter having such qualifications, experience and on payment of such fees as may be prescribed, while recording the evidence of the child [Section 38].
Section 44 (1) of the POCSO Act provides that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) shall monitor the implementation of the provisions of the POCSO Act. As per information provided by NCPCR there are 664 Special Courts established across the country till 30th June, 2019.
Besides, as informed by Department of Justice, an amount of Rs.99.99 crore has been released to 28 States/UTs for setting up of 651 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) including 363 POCSO courts.
This information was given by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.