The hard realities of India’s fast-track courts

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By admin August 8, 2019 14:10

The hard realities of India’s fast-track courts

Arunav Kaul, a researcher and policy analyst in judicial reforms in India, provides a critical analysis of Fast Track Courts (FTCs) in India and suggests some effective measures addressing the systemic issues.

Fast Track Courts in India:

  • The Fast Track Courts (FTCs) are the special courts, tasked with ensuring speedy trials and reducing net pendency of cases.
  • FTCs in India was first established, under the name, in the year 2000, with an aim to resolve long pending cases and reduce the burden over the judiciary.
  • The Supreme Court had recognized speedy trial as a fundamental right in 1986 to inculcate justice in the society.
  • However, the Eleventh Finance Commission was the first to recommend a scheme for creation of 1734 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) in 1998.
  • The Ministry of Finance had sanctioned an amount of Rs. 502.90 crores as a grant for special problem and up-gradation in judicial administration for a period of five years.
  • FTCs were established under the Department of Justice, to expeditiously dispose of long-pending Session Court cases and cases of undertrial prisoners.
  • Setting up of subordinate courts and the FTCs is a subject under the domain of the respective state governments.
  • The state sets up such courts, consulting the respective High Court.

Pendency Issue:

 

  • India is facing a prodigious case pendency issue of around 6 lakh cases in the FTCs across the country as reported by the Law Minister in the Parliament.
  • UP is the worst performer among all the states followed by Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal for the pendency of cases.
  • Smriti Irani, a minister of MoWCD, informed the RS, that the government has proposed to set up 1023 FTCs for the cases under the POCSO Act.
  • Supreme Court in a recent suo-motu petition issued directions for setting up special courts or FTCs for the districts with more than 100 cases pending.

Other Issues:

  • The judge-population ratio is very less.
  • There is no single mechanism in the country for fast track courts (FTCs)
  • Also, there is a huge variation for kinds of cases handled by FTCs in different states.
  • Several FTCs lack technological resources and many of them do not have sufficient staff.
  • FTCs and other subordinate courts are under the domain of State Governments. Thus, mere promotion of FTCs by Centre and higher courts will not have much effect in case of lack of funding and infrastructure provided by the State Government.
  • There is no special, speedier procedure for disposal of cases. Thus, they lead usual delay like regular courts for the pending cases.

Factors For Pendency Of The Cases:

There are three major factors causing a delay in pending cases:

  1.  Court system delay: It causes due to a delay from the time the case admitted to the time it is taken up in the trail.
  2. Delay due to lawyers/ advocates and others: It causes due to the actions of lawyers or advocates such as adjournments given etc. I
  3. investigative agencies general delay.

Addressing systemic issues:

  • Identifying the systemic issues like technical or infrastructural concerns is as important as timely disposal of cases as raising a number of judges in the court.
  • Actions by the State Government and the active role of the judiciary for administration and legislative functioning of FTCs are important.
  • Equal attention should be paid to both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas for solving cases.
  • Critical issues like inadequate staff, understaffed forensic lab, delay by investigative agencies, which affect the day-to-day func must be addressed.
  • FTCs must be administered under different judicial bodies than special courts with little coordination or uniformity among them.
  • Nyaya Panchayats should be authorized to solve small and petty cases.

Source 1     Source 2

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admin
By admin August 8, 2019 14:10