Five more fast-track courts are set to start functioning at the city sessions court from March 15.
Writers’ Buildings and Calcutta High Court initiated the move following directives from the Union government to expedite disposal of pending criminal cases. More than 40,000 such cases are pending for trial since the past 10 years.
Another fast-track court was set up on the same premises after the Centre decided to roll out 1,768 such courts across the country.
Criminal lawyers of the state, however, are opposing the move to set up fast-track courts. Saradindu Biswas, former chairman of the state bar council, said the purpose of speedy disposal of cases would not be served. “A large number of hardcore criminals will take advantage of the system and get out of jail,” Biswas said.
The police, on the other hand, feel such courts would help in speedy disposal of cases. “We hope these courts will clear pending cases quickly,” said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police, detective department. At present, 53 fast-track courts are functioning across West Bengal, with the cost burden being shared equally by the state and the Centre.
According to an official of the judiciary department, the state is only “implementing” the Centre’s idea. “But we, too, have a separate plan for speedy trials of pending cases. We are planning to bring a Bill to set up pre-consultation boards at block levels to curb the number of fresh cases. The boards will make people aware of the legal implications and judicial status, so that they can settle out of the court,” he added.