The states have to set up two designated courts in districts where the number of pending cases of child abuse under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act is more than 300, said Supreme Court on Monday.

A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose made it clear that an earlier direction of the apex court for setting up one court in each district having more than 100 FIRs under POCSO Act meant that it has to be a designated court to deal with only such cases under the law.

“We make it clear that POCSO cases have to be dealt with by exclusive POCSO courts which will not deal with other cases. Where there are more than 100 cases, there would be one exclusive POCSO court. If there are 300 or more cases, there should be two special POCSO courts in a district,” the bench said.

The court also made it clear that if the cases under POCSO are less in a district then the special court might also deal with other cases such as rape.

“I have been in the high court (as a judge). I know if there are too many courts and less work, then it makes the system inefficient,” Justice Gupta observed.

On July 25, the apex court directed setting up of a centrally-funded designated court in each district that has more than 100 FIRs under the POCSO Act to deal with the cases of sexual offences against children.

The Supreme Court also said that a short clip, to spread awareness about prevention of child abuse and prosecution of crimes against children, should be screened in every movie hall and transmitted by various channels at regular intervals.

It had directed that the special court be funded by the Centre that will take care of appointment of presiding officer, support persons, special public prosecutors, court staff and infrastructure, including the creation of a child-friendly environment and vulnerable witness courtrooms.

(With inputs from PTI)