New Delhi: Twenty-four states and union territories have joined a scheme to set up a total of 1,023 'fast-track special courts' (FTSCs) to dispose of over 1.60 lakh cases of rape of children and women pending in various courts across the country, the Law Ministry said on Thursday.
In a statement issued on Thursday, it said out of total 31 states and UTs, so far 24 have joined this scheme. The states are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and Puducherry are yet to join. "Efforts are constantly being made to obtain consent or willingness of the remaining states and UTs" the statement by the ministry said.
Each of these special courts are expected to settle 165 such cases per year, according to a ministry document put in public domain earlier. A total of 1,023 FTSCs will be set up, out of which 389 of such courts will exclusively handle the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases as per the directions of the Supreme Court.
The remaining 634 FTSCs will deal with either rape cases or both rape and the POCSO Act cases depending upon the pendency and requirement, the document said.
"Each FTSC is expected to dispose of 41-42 cases in each quarter and at least 165 cases in a year," according to the document of the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry. As per the document, a total of 1,66,882 cases of rape and the POCSO Act are pending trial in various courts across India.
There are 389 districts in the country where the number of pending cases under the POCSO Act exceeds 100. Therefore, as per the directives of the top court, in each of these districts one exclusive POCSO court will be set up which will try no other cases, the document said.
The Department of Justice had proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts at a total budget of Rs 767.25 crore. The central support of Rs 474 crore for one year will be funded under the Nirbhaya Fund. The fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after December 16, 2012, gangrape and murder of a student in Delhi, to support the initiatives of governments and NGOs working towards safety of women.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)