Continuation of Scheme for Fast Track Courts
● The Union Cabinet approved the continuation of 1,023 fast track special courts including 389 exclusive POCSO courts as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
● The Scheme was launched in 2019 and the share of the Centre is from theNirbhaya Fund which is disbursed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Examine whether fast track courts are a long-term solution to the increasing pendency in the judiciary.
Benefits of Fast track courts:
● De-clog justice system: As per government sources there were nearly 1.67 lakh cases of rape and POCSO in 2019, but this number has increased to 2.34 lakh cases as of August 2021. Fast track courts would therefore reduce the pendency that exists in the justice system by dealing with cases on a priority basis. According to the Minister of Women and Child Development 660 fast track courts in 26 states have resolved over 51,600 cases of rape and POCSO.
● Speedy disposal of cases: Fast track courts provide justice in a time-bound manner thus ensuring that quick justice is delivered to victims of sexual crimes.
Challenges to the long-term fast track courts
● Funding constraints: The Scheme is funded by the Centre and the State governments. Funding constraints on part of the State governments prevent them from setting up permanent fast track courts.
● Inadequate manpower : There is a dearth of qualified judges and support staff for the courts to function effectively. For every judge appointed there is a need for nearly 10 support staff like stenographers and clerks. This limits the efficacy of fast track courts and prevents them from being a sustainable solution.
The continuation of fast track courts is a laudable step and will help in expediting justice to victims of sexual crimes. However substantial judicial reforms are needed to find a sustainable solution and ensure justice in society.