05th Aug 2021, The Big Picture – Sexual Crime: Fast-tracking Justice
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- GS-3: Indian Economy & Challenges
Sexual Crime: Fast-tracking Justice
In News: The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of over 1000 Fast Track Special Courts to ensure faster delivery of justice to victims of sexual offences, as a centrally sponsored scheme for another two years.
- These include 389 exclusive POCSO courts to expedite trials and provide immediate relief to minor girls who are victims of sexual crimes.
- The continuation of the scheme, which was started on October 2, 2019, involves a total outlay of more than Rs 1,572 crore.
- Rs 971 crore is provided by the Centre from the Nirbhaya Fund, the remaining amount is expected to be provided by states.
How effective has this mechanism been in nearly two years of its existence?
- Justice delayed is justice denied at the same time the constitutional framework also provides that every accused is having the right to prove that he is innocent till the last court.
- The judicial system has to create a balance, it has to ensure that on one hand the victim is given justice but on the other hand in the haste of giving the justice we do not deny justice to the accused also.
- This balancing act causes a lot of delay in the final disposal of the cases.
- If we see the Indian scenario, the courts are having thousands and lakhs of pending cases before Indian courts weather it is criminal case or civil case but when there are criminal cases pending there is a lot of angst against it.
- If we talk about today’s scenario a lot more stringent laws have been made for women and children by the parliament. Time and again amendment has been made to plug in the loop holes and to make the laws better.
- The recent amendment is 2018 amendment in criminal law that asked for even more stringent punishment in case of rape off minor women under 16 years of age.
- The same amendment even suggested for death penalty as punishment in case the victim is under 12 years of age in life imprisonment in case the victim is under 16 years of age.
- In the year 2019, there was a direction from supreme court that for POCSO, there should be a mandate for special court and in any district where there are more than 100 cases, there should be special designated court.
- All these changes were done to ensure that the victim gets expeditious justice but unfortunately as per the reports given by ministry of home affairs out of the 1023 fast track courts only 597 are working and rest are still not working out of which 321 are POCSO courts.
- Despite such stringent punishments every other day there are rapes of minor girl child making headlines.
- Under POCSO, after the filing of chargesheet the case should be decided within sixty days but it’s taking much longer due to the procedural delay.
- The government should come up with the scheme which can be implemented only in coordination with the high court and state governments and these should be equally vigilant in ensuring that the courts are constituted and are working as well.
- The fast-track court should be implemented not just in letter but spirit as well.
- Sensitization has to be done in public and it should start from home. Change need to begin from the mindset of the society. Fast track court wont help unless and until we cleanse the dirt in the mind of the society.
- Making laws more stringent will do their part if only their implementation is done properly and on time.
- Lack of infrastructure is another area that needs attention as their need to be proper infrastructure to ensure that victim doesn’t have to come too close to the accused.
- Even if we get the special court where from the special judges will come. Even today 20 % of the post in lower judiciary at magistrate level is vacant and these are perpetual vacancies.
- Number of cases appearing before judge should be limited and in addition to this legal procedure need to be strengthened. Without compromising the fair trial, if an easier procedure and mechanism can be laid down for the special court so that special court apply special procedure.
- Since the rural areas report more such cases, we need to focus on that as well. We need to start with sex education and sensitizing the rural public to change their mindset.
- People need to be aware of the law and unfortunately its more dismal in rural sector. Hence knowledge of law and sensitization of every section of the society is a must.
- The government has done great work by extending the fast-track code mechanism for another two years because justice doesn’t only have to be done, it should appear to have been done to every common man so that their faith in judiciary is upheld.
- These fast-track courts will ensure that the dignity of the judicial system is upheld in the eye of the common man by ensuring that justice is not just delivered but it is also delivered on time.
Can you answer this question now?
- Critically discuss the achievements of Fast Track Special Courts in ensuring faster delivery of justice to victims of sexual offences.