After a gap of six years, the Centre has once again pushed for creation of fast track courts to try heinous crimes such as rape, murder and dacoity for which an allocation of more than Rs 4,100 crore has been made. With the 14th Finance Commission allocating Rs 4144.14 crore, the Centre has now asked states to set up a total of 1,800 fast track courts for a period of five years. As per the Finance Commission document, these courts will be set up for a period of five years. The Law Ministry had proposed before the Commission that additional 1,800 positions created in the lower judiciary be used to man these fast track courts. In 2012, the Supreme Court had directed that 10 per cent additional position of judges be created in the subordinate courts, which comes to 1,800. These courts will have the mandate to try all cases of heinous crimes such as murder, rape, dacoity, kidnapping, human trafficking and dowry deaths. They will also settle civil cases involving senior citizens, women, children, disabled and litigants afflicted with HIV/AIDS and other terminal ailments. Civil disputes involving land acquisition and property/ rent disputes pending for more than 5 years will also come in the ambit of these courts, the document said. While the most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has been granted Rs 488 crore, Maharashtra has been given Rs 469 crore for the courts. Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal have been earmarked Rs 400 crore, Rs 338 crore, Rs 306 crore, Rs 218 crore and Rs 216 crore respectively. The 11th Finance Commission had recommended creation of 1,734 fast track courts in the country for disposal of long pending cases for a five year period. The term of scheme on these courts ended on March 31, 2005.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the functioning of these courts through the case of Brij Mohan Lal Vs Union of India, had observed that the scheme should not be disbanded all of a sudden and had directed the Centre to continue with these courts. The government had then approved continuation of 1,562 fast track courts that were operational as on March 31, 2005 till March 31, 2010. The scheme of central assistance for these courts was extended for a period of one year upto March 31, 2011. It was decided that there will be no central funding for fast track courts beyond March 31, 2011. A note prepared by the Law Ministry on fast track courts said 32.34 lakh cases were disposed of by these courts, out of 38.90 lakh transferred to these. It leaves a pendency of 6.56 lakh cases.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)