The hard realities of India's fast-track courts -Arunav Kaul
Many of them are understaffed and under-resourced
Fast-track courts are in the limelight yet again. Smriti Irani, Minister for Women and Child Development, informed the Rajya Sabha that the government has proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts to clear the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court in a suo motu petition had issued directions, stating that districts with more than 100 cases pending under the POCSO Act need to set up special courts that can deal specifically with these cases.
Increasing the number of courts as a recourse to deal with the mounting backlog has been a common practice. However, while large sums of money and attention are being devoted to creating additional posts, little is being done to identify and address the prevalent systemic issues. Without fully optimising the current mechanisms and resolving the problems, sanctioning more judges may not provide the intended results.
Fast-track courts (FTCs) have been around for a long time, with the first ones being established in the year 2000. Since then, much has been spoken and written about them. To quote the Ministry of Law and Justice, at the end of March, there were 581 FTCs operational in the country, with approximately 5.9 lakh pending cases, Uttar Pradesh having the most number of cases. However, 56% of the States and Union Territories, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had no FTCs. In terms of money, Rs.870 crore was released by the Centre between 2000-2001 and 2010-2011 towards these FTCs.
Please click here to read more.
The Hindu, 7 August, 2019, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-hard-realities-of-indias-fast-track-courts/article28838795.ece?homepage=true