New Delhi: With a view to generate awareness, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered cinema halls across the country to screen clips on prevention of child abuse.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said the Ministry of Women and Child Development must devise modalities and hire an appropriate agency to ensure suitable clips can be screened.
It said TV channels should also show these clips intermittently along with displaying child helpline numbers. The Central government has been given four weeks to implement the direction and get back to the apex court on it.
The court order came on a suggestion mooted by Senior Advocate V Giri, who has been appointed as amicus curiae by the bench to assist it in crafting a mechanism to speed up criminal trials in the wake of an alarming spurt in child rape cases across the country.
Giri had suggested that a short clip intended to spread awareness on the subject in general, namely, prevention of child abuse and prosecution of crimes against children, should necessarily be screened in every movie hall and could also be transmitted by various television channels at regular intervals.
He added a child helpline number should be displayed not only in such clips but also at various other prominent places, in schools and other public places.
The court order said, “The suggestion of the learned Amicus Curiae shall also be implemented by the Ministry of Women and Chlid Development through such agency as may be considered appropriate.”
The SC also directed setting up of a centrally funded designated court in each district having more than 100 FIRs under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to deal exclusively with cases of sexual offences against children.
“We would expect our above stated directions to be implemented and exclusively designated courts to try offences under the POCSO Act, in terms of the above directions, to start functioning within 60 days from the date of the present order,” a bench said.
The top court directed that the special court be funded by the Centre and take care of appointment of presiding officer, support persons, special public prosecutors, court staff and infrastructure, including creation of child-friendly environment and vulnerable witness court rooms.
Regarding speedy justice in child rape cases, the SC said that directions can be passed without waiting for additional data on cases registered under the POCSO Act.
“Instead of adjourning the case for receipt of further/additional data, we are inclined to proceed to issue certain directions,” said the bench.
SS Rathi, Registrar of the apex court, who was asked to compile data of total pending cases under the POCSO Act across the country, sought some more time, but the bench said that the exercise can continue without coming in its way to pass directions.
(With inputs from PTI)