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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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HC push to fast track courts

Cuttack, Jan. 17: Fast track courts to deal exclusively with crime against women are in the offing. Orissa High Court has taken the initiative in this regard in the wake of a string of attacks on women in the state and other parts of the country.

The court will soon take up with the state government appointment of judicial officers for the purpose. It has, however, decided to designate some courts as fast track courts with the existing judicial officers so that they become functional without delay.

The full bench of Orissa High Court, which took up the issue on Monday, considered delay in disposing of cases involving offences against women as one of the possible reasons for rise in such crimes. It feels that the situation warrants dealing expeditiously with such cases, official sources said.

“The details of the fast track courts to exclusively deal with such cases are expected to be finalised within the next two days,” an official of the high court registry told The Telegraph today.

The process is under way to identify the number of posts required to be created at the level of sessions’ judges as well as magistrates in the districts. Thereafter, the matter will be taken up with the state government to increase the number of posts, not only of judicial officers, but also of supporting staff members and other infrastructure, the official said.

The full court bench sitting followed a week after Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir wrote a letter to all his high court counterparts to ensure that cases related to offences against women are fast-tracked and taken up for hearing on priority basis.

The gang rape and murder of the Delhi girl has shaken the conscience of the nation, the CJI said on January 7 while asking all high courts to set up fast track courts to deal exclusively with offences against women. The CJI said the issue would be discussed at the chief justices’ conference to be held in April.

In another development, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, after reviewing crimes against women on January 9 in the wake of the Delhi gang rape incident and similar cases in the state, announced that the government had decided to expedite probes into rape and molestation cases and complete them within 60 days.

Chargesheets in all such cases will be filed within 60 days. At present, under the Criminal Procedure Code, chargesheets need to be filed within 120 days.

As a consequence of the decision, separate cells will be opened in the office of each superintendent of police to supervise investigation into women-related cases. A separate cadre of public prosecutors will be created to handle cases related to crimes against women and steps will be taken to set up fast track courts for speedy trial of rape, murder and dowry death cases, the state government said.