Context for setting up the courts
- One of the key objectives of the National Mission for Safety of Women is to expedite the trial and disposal of cases involving women and children by setting up Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs). The POCSO Act also mandates that the investigation in the cases is to be completed in two months and trial in 6 months.
- However, despite a strong law and policy framework, large number of rape and POCSO Act cases is pending in various courts in the country.
- The SC has also directed that in each district of the country, if there are more than 100 cases under the POCSO Act, an exclusive/designated special court will be set up which will try no other offence except those under the POCSO Act.
Why is it in the NEWS?
- The Central Government has started a scheme for setting up of 1023 FTSCs across the country based on pendency of subject cases obtained from various High Courts for time bound trial and disposal of pending cases related to rape and POCSO Act.
- Out of total 31 States and UTs, so far, 24 have joined this scheme (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, NCT of Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh) for setting up of FTSCs, including exclusive POCSO courts.
Features of the FTSCs
- FTSCs will be set up for one year, spread over two financial years: 2019-20 & 2020-21. The decision on extension of the scheme beyond one year will depend on the recommendations in the external evaluation.
- The scheme does not intend to create any permanent infrastructure. The courts will be made functional in suitable premises taken on lease or as decided by the States/UTs and respective High Courts.
- Each FTSC will have one Judicial Officer and seven staff members. States/UTs may engage judicial officers and court staff on contractual basis where sufficient manpower is not available. Services of retired judicial officers with relevant experience may also be engaged to dispose of cases in the FTSCs.
- The financing of the Scheme will be on the pattern of Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Flexi Grant can be utilized for meeting daily operational expenses and making the courts child and women friendly.