Continuation of fast-track special courts approved by cabinet for three yearstext_fields
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has greenlit the extension of fast-track special courts for an additional three years, aiming to expedite justice in cases involving sexual offenses, particularly those related to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Initially launched on Gandhi Jayanti in 2019 for a one-year duration, the scheme was subsequently extended for an additional two years until March 31 of the current year.
Originating from the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gangrape case in Delhi, the establishment of 1,023 fast-track special courts, which includes 389 courts dedicated to handling POCSO Act violations across 31 states and Union territories, was part of the response following the passage of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2018.
Despite the endeavour to set up these courts, a government official highlighted that out of the proposed 1,023 courts, only 754 were operational. While numerous states had pledged to establish these courts, operationalisation remained limited.
The recent Cabinet decision extends the scheme for three more years, involving a financial outlay of Rs 1,952.23 crore. The funding structure involves a central share of Rs 1,207.24 crore, drawn from the Nirbhaya Fund, with states contributing Rs 744.99 crore.
"Thirty states and union territories have participated in the scheme, operationalizing 761 fast-track special courts, including 414 exclusive POCSO courts, which have resolved over 1,95,000 cases," the statement confirmed.
Each fast-track special court was designed to handle between 65 and 165 cases annually, with an estimated expenditure of Rs 75 lakh per court, inclusive of one judicial officer and seven support staff members, according to officials.