FAST TRACK SPECIAL COURTS
Context: Over 1000 Fast Track Special Courts will be set up across the country for speedy disposal of cases relating to rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as per the statement released by the Law Ministry.
Key Highlights Out of these, 389 courts have been proposed to be set up exclusively for POCSO Act related cases in districts where the pendency of such cases is more than 100. These courts will be set-up as a part of the National Mission for Safety of Women. The scheme was circulated to the concerned State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in September last year. According to the Ministry, 24 States and Union Territories have joined this scheme for setting up 792 Fast Track Special Courts. These include 354 exclusive courts for trial of POCSO offences. These 24 States and Union Territories includes Andhara Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, MadhyaPradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, NCT of Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Brief Note on Scheme of Fast Track Courts
- The Eleventh Finance Commission recommended a scheme for creation of 1734 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) in the country for disposal of long pending Sessions and other cases. The Ministry of Finance sanctioned an amount of Rs.502.90 crores as“ special problem and upgradation grant” for judicial administration. The scheme was for a period of 5 years.
- The Finance Commission Division (FCD), Ministry of Finance released funds directly to the state Governments under the scheme of Fast Track Courts. It is the primary responsibility of the State Governments to establish these courts in consultation with the concerned High Courts.
- The FTCs were established to expeditiously dispose of long pending cases in the Sessions Courts and long pending cases of undertrial prisoners.
- The term of scheme on the Fast Track Courts which were recommended by the Eleventh Finance Commission ended on 31st march, 2005. The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the functioning of Fast Track Courts through the case of Brij Mohan Lal Vs UOI & Ors observed that the scheme of Fast Track Courts should not be disbanded all of a sudden and in its order dated 31st March, 2005, directed the Union of India to continue the Fast Track Courts.
- The Government accorded its approval for the continuation of 1562 Fast Track Courts that were operational as on 31.3.2005 for a further period of 5 years i.e. up to 31st March, 2010 with a provision of Rs. 509 crores. The Department of Justice was monitoring the scheme.
- The Central assistance under the above said scheme is limited to an approved norm i.e. Rs. 4.80 lakh per court per annum (recurring) and Rs. 8.60 lakh (non-recurring). Any expenditure incurred by the State in excess as recurring and /or non-recurring expenditure would have to be borne by the State Government.