Continuation of Scheme for Fast Track Courts
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Policies and interventions
In news Recently, the Union Government approved the continuation of more than 1000 Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for two years (April 2021-March 2023).
- It includes 389 exclusive POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Courts.
- The Central share will be provided from the Nirbhaya Fund.
What is the Background of Fast Track Courts?
- Fast track courts (FTCs) were first recommended by the Eleventh Finance Commission in 2000 to substantially bring down pendency in the district and subordinate courts over the next five years.
- In 2011, the central government stopped funding fast-track courts.
- The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court (SC) in 2012, but the apex court said it was up to the states to continue or shut down these courts depending on their financial situation.
- Three states–Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala–continued running these courts while Delhi, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka had said they would continue till 2013.
- Following the December 2012 Gangrape and murder, the Union Government set up a ‘Nirbhaya Fund’, amended the Juvenile Justice Act and set up fast-track Mahila Courts.
What is the Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts?
- In 2019, the government approved a scheme for setting up 1,023 fast-track special courts (FTSCs) across the country for expeditious disposal of pending rape cases under the Indian penal Code (IPC) and crimes under the POCSO Act.
- FTSCs are dedicated courts expected to ensure swift dispensation of justice. They have a better clearance rate as compared to the regular courts and hold speedy trials.
- It also strengthens the deterrence framework for sexual offenders.
How has the Performance been for Fast Track Courts?
- The Performance has been below par.
- According to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), at the end of 2019, rape cases had a pendency rate of 89.5% and the conviction rate of 27.8%.
- For POCSO cases, 88.8% cases were pending at the end of the year, and of those disposed of, 34.9% ended in a conviction.
What are the Issues with FTCs?
- Lack of Infrastructure
- No clear Mandate: There are no clear mandates on what kind of cases fast-track courts are supposed to hear.
- Delay in Judgement
- Overburdened Judges
News Source: IE