NEW DELHI: Seven years after the Nirbhaya gang rape shook the entire nation, the Centre’s plan to set up Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) across India to deal with cases of sexual offences has hit a hurdle as some states are not cooperating because of the expenses involved in the exercise.
The reluctance in setting up FTSCs is because of the expenses that the states will have to bear along with the Centre.
Apart from fund crunch, the states have informed the Centre that another big hurdle to establish is the large number of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary — 6,200 till November this year — across the country.
Worse, this response comes at a time when the conviction rate in rape cases is only 32.2 per cent.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2017, the total number of rape cases that went to trial was 1,46,201, but only 5,822 of them saw conviction.
Last year, the Centre had decided to expedite setting up of 1,023 FTSCs to deal with cases of rape and those registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Of the 1,023 proposed FTSCs, 389 will exclusively deal with POCSO cases.
According to an estimate, each court will require an annual expenditure of Rs 75 lakh — 60 per cent of which will be provided by the Centre and the rest is to be borne by the states.
Section 28 (1) of the POCSO Act 2012 stipulates that every district should have an exclusive court to deal with sexual offences against children.
However, the states have so far displayed a lack of seriousness in the matter, resulting in accumulation of pending cases filed under the act.
Maharashtra, Tripura, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Goa, MP, Karnataka, Mizoram, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Haryana have come on board for the proposal of setting up these courts.
The large number of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary across the country is a known fact.
Last week, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved a proposal to set up 218 fast track courts.
This move comes in the backdrop of the nation-wide outrage over the alleged rape and gruesome murder of an Unnao woman.
Extra costs a burden
The reluctance in setting up Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) is because of the expenses that the states will have to bear along with the Centre.