The Law Ministry has finalised the draft bill for setting up special courts to try sexual offences. It has also prepared a note for placing the Bill on Judges’ Standard and Accountability before the Cabinet for further discussion.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs M. Veerappa Moily told The Hindu here on Saturday that the Law Ministry had finalised the draft and sent it to the Home Ministry for further action.
He said the Law Ministry had also prepared a note on the judges bill and that it would be placed before the Cabinet shortly.
The Home Ministry, he said, would vet the draft before issuing a notification for establishment of such courts.
Once these special courts come into existence, they are expected to hear and dispose of cases within a stipulated time frame. Called the Sexual Offences (Special Courts) Bill, 2010, the courts —specially designated sessions courts or fast track courts — would try such cases within six months.
This is the first time that such a bill is being passed in the country.
Apart from making sexual offences a cognizable offence, it incorporates many recommendations and suggestions of the Supreme Court in different judgments.
The bill will also incorporate some changes in Section 53 and Section 146 of the Indian Evidence Act. A new section, 53 A, will also be added to the statute providing protection to women victims during the course of trial.
Mr. Moily said once the bill is passed by Parliament, it would be sent to the State governments and High Courts to decide on how many such special courts would be set up.
He said the Law Ministry had prepared a note on judges’ bill for being placed before the Cabinet sub-committee. Once the committee goes through the note and okays it, the bill would be placed before Parliament.
He said the new bill would replace the Judges Inquiry Act and it would be applicable to judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and certain other categories of courts. The bill would also make it mandatory for judges of the High Court and Supreme Court to declare their assets.