The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the continuation of the centrally sponsored scheme for fast track special courts till 31 March 2023. Following this, 1023 fast-track special courts, including 389 exclusive POCSO courts, will get an extension.
The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the continuation of the scheme with an outlay of Rs. 1572.86 crore — Rs.971.70 crore as Centre’s share and Rs.601.16 crore as states’ share. The Central Share will be funded from Nirbhaya Fund.
Expansion of Fast Track Special Courts;
Since October 2019, the Department of Justice of the Ministry of Law and Justice has been implementing the Centrally sponsored scheme for expeditious trial and disposal of pending cases of rape and offences against children under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
Incidents of rape of minor girls below the age of twelve years and women below the age of sixteen years have shaken the conscience of the entire nation. The occurrence of such incidents and prolonged trials of convicts had necessitated the creating of dedicated court machinery which could expedite the trial and provide immediate relief to the victims of sexual offences.
To bring more stringent provisions and expeditious trial and disposal of such cases, the central government enacted the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 and made provision of stringent punishment, including death penalty for perpetrators of rape. This led to the establishment of fast track special courts.
These 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. Besides providing quick justice to hapless victims, they strengthen the deterrence framework for sexual offenders.
The expected outcomes of the scheme are:
- To further the commitment of the Nation to champion the cause of safety and security of women and girl child.
- To reduce the number of pending cases of Rape & POCSO Act.
- To Provide speedy access to justice to the victims of sexual crimes and act as a deterrent for sexual offenders.
- And, for Fastracking of these cases, as it will declog the judicial system from the burden of case pendency.
Currently, covering 28 States, the scheme is proposed to be expanded to cover all 31 states which are eligible to join the Scheme.