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Haryana sets up fast-track courts for POCSO cases in 16 districts

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Rajesh Moudgil, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2020 11:09 PM IST

The total number of pending cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act in the state is around 1,950

The Haryana government has set up fast-track courts in 16 districts to exclusively hear the cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012.

Officials said a notification in this context would be issued in a day or two.

While one court of additional sessions judge each has been set up in Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Gurugram, Jind, Karnal, Nuh, Palwal, Panipat, Rohtak, Sonepat and Yamunanagar to try the offences exclusively under the Pocso Act, one court of additional sessions judge each has been set up in Hisar, Sirsa, Fatehabad and Kurukshetra to primarily try offences of rape along with the offences under the Pocso Act.

The total number of pending cases under Pocso Act in the state is around 1950 with Gurugram topping the list with 295 pending cases, Faridabad 158 cases, Karnal 133, Jind 107 and Hisar 99.

“We have had consent of the chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court for 12 additional sessions judges while we have already sanctioned 112 staff members for these courts,” additional chief secretary, home department, Vijai Vardhan told HT, confirming the development.

Though the state government had since 2013, designated all the sessions judges and additional sessions judges, except the additional session judge (ad-hoc, fast-track courts), at each district headquarters, it has now decided to set up courts to exclusively handle Pocso cases.

Of the total 22 districts in the state, the six remaining districts, namely Charkhi Dadri, Jhajjar, Kaithal, Narnaul, Panchkula and Rewari, would continue with the designated courts.

The move follows a recent decision of the Supreme Court of India which directed that in each district of the country, if there were more than hundred cases under the Pocso Act, an exclusive/designated special court shall be set up, which shall try no other offence except those under the said Act.

According to officils, these courts would run for one year spread over two financial years (2019 -2020 and 2020-2021) as per the scheme on fast-track special courts for expeditious disposal of cases of rape and Pocso Act.

Besides presiding officers, these courts would have support persons, special public prosecutors, court staff and infrastructure, including creation of friendly environment and vulnerable witness court rooms.

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