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Cabinet okays 3-year Central funding extension for fast-track special courts

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, NOV 29, 2023: THE Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) as, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) from 01.04.2023 to 31.03.2026 with financial implication of Rs. 1952.23 crore (Rs. 1207.24 crore as Central Share and Rs. 744.99 crore as State share). Central Share is to be funded from Nirbhaya Fund. The Scheme was launched on 02.10.2019.

The government's unwavering priority towards ensuring the safety and security of women and children is evident through several initiatives, such as the 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' programme.  Incidents involving the rape of girl child and women have deeply impacted the nation. The frequency of such incidents and the prolonged trials of offenders necessitated the establishment of a dedicated court system capable of expediting trials and delivering immediate relief to victims of sexual offenses. Consequently, the Central Government enacted the "The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. 2018," which included stringent punishment, including the death penalty for rape offenders, leading to the creation of the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs).

FTSCs, designed as dedicated courts, are expected to ensure swift dispensation of justice, offering quick relief to victims while strengthening the deterrence framework for sexual offenders. 

The Union of India formulated a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to establish FTSCs for the timely disposal of cases related to rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) in August 2019. Following the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in suo moto Writ Petition (Criminal) No.1/2019 dated 25.07.2019, the scheme mandated the establishment of exclusive POCSO Courts for districts with over 100 POCSO Act cases. Initially commenced in October 2019 for one year, the scheme was extended for an additional two years until 31.03.2023. Now, it has been further extended until 31.03.2026, with a financial outlay of Rs. 1952.23 crore, with the Central Share funded from the Nirbhaya Fund.

Implemented by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of FTSCs augments State Government resources for establishing FTSCs across the country, ensuring the swift disposal of cases related to rape and the POCSO Act.

Thirty States/Union Territories have participated in the Scheme, operationalizing 761 FTSCs, including 414 exclusive POCSO Courts, which have resolved over 1,95,000 cases. These courts support State/UT Government efforts to provide timely justice to victims of sexual offenses. even in remote and far-flung areas.

The expected outcomes of the scheme are:

- Reflect the nation's commitment to ending sexual and gender-based violence.

- Substantially reduce pending cases of Rape & POCSO Act, relieving the burden on the judicial system.

- Ensure swift access to justice for victims of sexual crimes through improved facilities and expedited trials.

- Lessen the burden of cases to a manageable number.


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