25 Aug 2023 1:42 PM GMT
In a resolute endeavour to ensure swift justice for victims of sexual offences, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, has achieved remarkable success. Under the scheme, the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) have successfully disposed of a staggering 1.74 lakh cases related to rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)...
In a resolute endeavour to ensure swift justice for victims of sexual offences, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, has achieved remarkable success. Under the scheme, the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) have successfully disposed of a staggering 1.74 lakh cases related to rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as of June 30, 2023.
The Government's steadfast commitment to ensuring the safety and security of women and the girl child led to the enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, which introduced stringent punishments, including the death penalty, for perpetrators of rape. Recognizing the urgent need to expedite the trial process in sexual offence cases and to alleviate the prolonged suffering of victims, the Department of Justice initiated the Centrally Sponsored Scheme in October 2019.
A total of 1,023 Fast Track Special Courts, including 389 exclusive POCSO Courts, were established across the nation to facilitate the rapid adjudication of sexual offence cases. Each court consists of one Judicial Officer and seven Staff Members, working cohesively to ensure justice is served swiftly and effectively.
Of the 31 eligible States and Union Territories, 28 have already embraced this scheme, demonstrating a collective commitment to addressing the pressing issue of sexual offences. Even Puducherry, in its pursuit of justice, made a special request and successfully operationalized an exclusive POCSO Court in May 2023.
Initially planned for one year over the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21, with a total allocation of Rs. 767.25 crore, the scheme was further extended by the Cabinet until March 2023, with a budget of Rs. 1572.86 crore. The central share for this initiative, to the tune of Rs. 971.70 crore, is funded from the Nirbhaya Fund. Plans for a potential extension of the scheme are currently underway.
To facilitate smooth implementation, the central government has consistently allocated funds to support the functioning of these courts. In the financial year 2019-20, Rs. 140 crore, in 2020-21, Rs. 160 crore, in 2021-22, Rs. 134.56 crore, and in 2022-23, Rs. 200 crore were disbursed as the central share. In the ongoing fiscal year 2023-24, a total of Rs. 200 crore has been earmarked, with Rs. 100.37 crore already released as of July 31, 2023.
For effective monitoring, the Department of Justice has established an online framework to track case statistics on a monthly basis. Additionally, regular review meetings are held with the Registrar Generals of High Courts and State officials to ensure the scheme's robust implementation.
As of June 2023, the nation witnesses the successful operation of 763 Fast Track Special Courts, with 412 exclusive POCSO Courts functional across 29 States and Union Territories. These courts have not only expedited the trial process but have also disposed of more than 1.74 lakh pending cases, providing much-needed closure and justice to victims of sexual offences.
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