Cabinet approves continuation of centrally sponsored scheme for Fast Track Special Courts for further three years
Nov 29, 2023
NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the continuation of Fast Track Special Courts as a centrally sponsored scheme from April 4, 2023, to March 31, 2026, with a financial implication of Rs 1952.23 crore (Rs 1207.24 crore as the central share and Rs 744.99 crore as the state share).
The Central Share is to be funded from the Nirbhaya Fund. The scheme was launched on October 2, 2019.
The government's unwavering priority towards ensuring the safety and security of women and children is evident through several initiatives, such as the 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' programme. Incidents involving the rape of girls and women have deeply impacted the nation.
The frequency of such incidents and the prolonged trials of offenders necessitated the establishment of a dedicated court system capable of expediting trials and delivering immediate relief to victims of sexual offences.
Consequently, the Central Government enacted "The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2018," which included stringent punishment, including the death penalty for rape offenders, leading to the creation of the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs).
FTSCs, designed as dedicated courts, are expected to ensure swift dispensation of justice, offering quick relief to victims while strengthening the deterrence framework for sexual offenders.
The Union of India formulated a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to establish FTSCs for the timely disposal of cases related to rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) in August 2019.
Following the directions of the Supreme Court in suo moto Writ Petition (Criminal) No.1/2019 dated July 25, 2019, the scheme mandated the establishment of exclusive POCSO Courts for districts with over 100 POCSO Act cases.
Initially commenced in October 2019 for one year, the scheme was extended for an additional two years until March 31, 2023.
Now, it has been further extended until March 31, 2026, with a financial outlay of Rs 1952.23 crore, with the Central Share funded from the Nirbhaya Fund.
Implemented by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of FTSCs augments state government resources for establishing FTSCs across the country, ensuring the swift disposal of cases related to rape and the POCSO Act.
Thirty States and Union Territories have participated in the scheme, operationalizing 761 FTSCs, including 414 exclusive POCSO Courts, which have resolved over 1,95,000 cases. These courts support state and UT government efforts to provide timely justice to victims of sexual offences, even in remote and far-flung areas.
The expected outcomes of the scheme include reflecting the nation's commitment to ending sexual and gender-based violence. Substantially reduce pending cases under the Rape and POCSO Act, relieving the burden on the judicial system.
It will also ensure swift access to justice for victims of sexual crimes through improved facilities and expedited trials. Reduce the burden of cases to a manageable number.