Rapid rape-trial drive
The Union law ministry on Thursday announced plans for 1,023 fast-track courts in the country to try cases of rape and sexual abuse of children.
Of these, 216 have been set up over the past two months, and the rest would start functioning soon, the ministry said. The plans are in keeping with a recent Supreme Court directive.
Of the 1,023 “fast-track special courts”, 389 would deal exclusively with cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and would be set up in districts with more than 100 such cases pending, an official release said.
“The offences of rape and gang rape of women and children require effective deterrence through fast and time-bound completion of trial relating to sexual offences,” the release said, citing the rising sexual crimes against adult women and minor girls.
It added that the number of such cases pending with the high courts was 166,882 as of March 31, 2018.
According to the release, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had informed all the states and Union Territories about the plan in September.
“Out of total 31 states and UTs, so far, 24 have joined this scheme (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, NCT of Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh) for setting up of 792 FTSCs, including 354 exclusive POCSO courts,” the release said. “Efforts are constantly being made to obtain consent/ willingness of the remaining states/ UTs.”