NEW DELHI: In order to fast- track the pending rape cases, the Centre has written to 24 Chief Justices of various high courts in the country, to set up more Fast Track Courts (FTC) and monitor their progress on a regular basis.
As the setting up of the FTC is the responsibility of the state government, the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) have also urged the Chief Ministers to provide financial support for the same.
Central funding to states for the Fast Track Courts, established under the 11th Finance Commission Award, was discontinued with effect from April 1, 2011. But, some states have continued FTC beyond 2011, with their own resources.
Figures available with the Law Ministry shows that only 976 out of the 2000 are functional, 14 years since its inception. Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh have no functional Fast Track Courts, despite sanction granted.
The FTCs are expected to dispose of at least 14 sessions cases a month and have disposed of more than three million cases in their first 11 years.
The high courts have been directed to monitor the district judges, to scrupulously adhere to these provisions in trial of cases involving heinous crimes such as rape, and to conduct trials without adjournment as far as possible.
As per official data available with MoLJ till February 2014, there are as many as 24,000 rape cases pending in various courts across the country.
As per the data, there has been an eight-fold increase in rape cases in the last four decades. The rise in sexual crime has been the most rapid, compared to other serious crimes such as murder, robbery and kidnapping.
The Law Ministry has advised the high courts to use provisions under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Sections 157, 309 and 327 of the CrPC deal with examination of witnesses on a day-to-day basis, keeping adjournment at a bare minimum, expediting trial of cases involving heinous crimes such as rape and holding on in camera proceedings.