Hyderabad: In a welcoming move, a fully-fledged special court, functioning for five days a week, has been constituted in HACA Bhavan to exclusively deal with cases registered under POCSO Act (Protection of Children against Sexual Offences). Earlier, the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge of Hyderabad was carrying out court proceedings for trial cases under POCSO on Wednesdays and Thursdays from HACA Bhavan.
The Supreme Court recently came up with the judgement calling for centrally-funded special courts in each district that had more than a hundred FIRs filed under POCSO. The special courts are for exclusively handling sexual offence cases against children. Following this, nine separate courts opened in Telangana yesterday.
“This court has a separate judge and a separate public prosecutor. Earlier, the same Public Prosecutor had to handle all the cases in the court, along with these cases. This separation will ensure faster trials and implementation,” said K Pratap Reddy, Additional Public Prosecutor.
Several changes are being implemented concerning converting the Fast-Track Courts (FTCs) into Special Courts and that too, at a rapid pace. XIII Additional Chief Judge (FTC) of City Civil Court, Premalatha, has been directed to conduct court proceedings in Hyderabad.
“Earlier, a legal support officer had been appointed to assist the Public Prosecutor in Hyderabad. That increased conviction rate from 2.5% to 35 % and thereby brought a lot of changes in the practices in the court. We should also try not to give more than three adjournments,” said Dr Mamatha Raghuveer Achanta, founder-director of NGO Tharuni.
When more separate courts are constituted in every district, it is hoped that there will be more accountability and transparency between the police and court proceedings, and thereby faster trials. It would also be helpful for those families who can’t afford to travel all the way to attend court proceedings.
“Registering cases has also drastically increased compared to last year. People were not interested in approaching the police and lodge complaints before. However, now, there is more awareness,” added Pratap Reddy. Separate courts will undoubtedly come a long way in helping survivors to come forward and register their cases without hassle.