Cuttack, Feb. 4: The state’s first Special Track Court to deal with cases of crime against women opened today in the city.
The Special Track Court (STC) was established as part of the move to open at least one fast-track court in each of the 30 districts for the expeditious trial of such cases.
Establishment of STCs in all the districts to deal exclusively with crimes against women assumes significance as 2,113 rape cases are under trial and another 1,566 rape cases are being investigated.
Orissa High Court’s acting Chief Justice P.K. Mohanty inaugurated the STC on the premises of the court of the district and sessions judge of Cuttack.
“There will be on-camera trial of all cases taken up by the STCs. The names of the victims shall also not be disclosed,” said district and sessions judge, Cuttack, Satrughana Pujahari.
On January 14, a full bench of Orissa High Court had decided to set up STCs and directed the district and sessions judges across the state to ensure their functioning by February 15.
The bench’s direction came after a week of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir writing to all his high court counterparts to ensure that cases related to offences against women were fast-tracked and taken up for hearing on priority basis.
The CJI had asked all high courts to set up fast-track courts to deal exclusively with offences against women in the wake of the Delhi gang rape case. He considered delay in disposing cases involving offences against women as one of the possible reasons for the rise in such crimes and the situation required dealing expeditiously with such cases.
Registrar general of high court J.P. Das said the state government had been urged to create posts to appoint one assistant sessions judge and one judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) in every district along with necessary infrastructure for their smooth functioning.
“To meet immediate needs, registrars of the civil and sessions courts have been empowered as assistant sessions judge to conduct the trial of cases involving offences against women in the STC in addition to their present assignment,” Das said.
Official sources said the high court has also asked the government to create posts of supporting staff for each assistant sessions judge and JMFC.
The government has also been moved to ensure appointment of public prosecutors or special public prosecutors to conduct the cases involving sexual offences against the women, an official source said.
So, the high court registry directed the district and sessions judges “to identify one court each where more than one magistrate are functioning to deal with offences against women and issue suitable instructions to the magistrate to consider the matter of taking cognisance of sexual offences in accordance with law without delay”.
The high court expected the magistrates “to supply police papers to the accused persons and take steps for commitment within a period not exceeding 10 days”.