Cabinet approves continuation of fast track courts for trying sexual offences for 3 years

The Fast Track Special Court (FTSC), a centrally sponsored scheme which was launched in 2019, will now be extended up to March 31, 2026; the Centre will bear its share of expenditure from the Nirbhaya Fund

November 29, 2023 04:15 pm | Updated 08:15 pm IST - New Delhi

Representational file image.

Representational file image. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Union Cabinet on November 29 approved the continuation of fast-track courts, dedicated to dispensation of justice in cases of sexual offences, for a period of three years.

The Fast Track Special Court (FTSC), a centrally sponsored scheme which was launched in 2019, would now be extended up to March 31, 2026.

Total cost for three years

The total cost of running the scheme for the three-year period would be ₹1,952.23 crore out of which ₹1,207.24 crore would be borne by the Centre and ₹744.99 crore by the State. The Centre’s share would be taken from the Nirbhaya Fund, an official statement said here.

Implemented by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, the centrally sponsored scheme has established fast track courts across the country, ensuring the swift disposal of cases related to rape and those coming under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

A total of 30 States and Union Territories have participated in the scheme, operationalising 761 fast track courts including 414 dedicated POCSO courts, which have together resolved over 1,95,000 cases.

The Centre had decided to set up 1,023 fast track courts after the passage of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2018 in the aftermath of the ‘Nirbhaya’ gangrape case in Delhi. These included courts that deal exclusively with cases related to violations of the POCSO Act in 31 States and UTs.

Falling short

However, only 754 of the 1,023 courts have been working as several States had assured the Centre that they would set up such courts, but not many eventually operationalised it, sources said.

The sources said that though there was no official word on the shortage, the scheme could be extended for 761 FTSCs, instead of 1,023.

Each FTSC is conceived to take up trial of between 65 and 165 cases every year. The annual expenditure to run one such court was pegged at Rs 75 lakh with one judicial officer and seven support staff.

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