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About Fast-Track Courts

Context:

Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the continuation of fast-track courts dedicated to the dispensation of justice in cases of sexual offences, for a period of three years.

Relevance:

GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Fast-track courts
  2. Advantages of Fast track courts
  3. Issues Faced by FTCs

About Fast-track courts :

  • Fast-track courts (FTCs) are created primarily to deal with the judicial backlog.
  • A ‘special court’ is one which is to deal with special types of cases under a shortened and simplified procedure.
  • Fast-track courts (FTCs) have been around for a long time, with the first ones being established in the year 2000.
  • However, 56% of the States and Union Territories, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had no FTCs.
  • Judges are appointed on the ad hoc basis.
  • Retired judges or eligible judicial officers who are selected by the High court of the respective states are the head of these courts.
Need for Fast Track courts
  • Clearing the considerable amount of pending cases
  • Expected to reduce the number of undertrials in jails
  • Need for Speedy Trial
  • Judiciary’s commitment to end sexual and gender based violence
Advantages of Fast track courts:
  • Lessening of the general caseload burden: The objective with which the fast track courts were established has been very beneficiary for judiciary as it has solved over a million cases and has reduced the case load from other courts.
  • Promotes specialization and professionalization: It has helped employ thousands of people from different fields, it also avails retired judges from high courts and district courts. The establishment of fast track courts has promoted the specialization of a category of law.
  • Improves judicial efficiency and effectiveness: By the proper use of judiciary and by speedy trial and judgment, fast track courts boost the efficiency of the judiciary.
  • High case clearance rate and speedy trial rate: Fast Track courts in India have the highest case disposal rate due to its speedy trial and judgment. And hence it is efficient in solving cases in a bound time.
  • Guarantees consistency and predictability: Fast track courts have high performance rate and are stable and steady. It renders justice with high accuracy.
Issues Faced by FTCs
  • Non-Uniformity in Type of Cases: In a survey of FTCs conducted by National Law University Delhi, it was observed that there is a huge variation in the kinds of cases handled by these courts across States, with certain States primarily allocating rape and sexual offence cases to them and other States allocating various other matters.
  • Infrastructural Issues: Most FTCs were not set up with different infrastructure or facilities, but were often housed in an existing court. Moreover, several States appoint FTCs special judges from the current pool of judges. This substantially increases the workload of the remaining judges.
  • Technological Barrier: Several FTCs lacked technological resources to conduct audio and video recordings of the victims and many of them did not have regular staff.
  • Adhocism: Setting up of FTCs was not based on actual problems of pendency, but was often in response to specific incidents such as securities scams, rape cases and sexual harassment of children.
  • Lack of Coordination: In India, tribunals are managed by different ministries, and fast-track courts and special courts are administered under different judicial bodies, with little coordination or uniformity among them.
  • Other Issues: There are delays in getting reports from the understaffed forensic science laboratories, judges make frivolous adjournments and inadequate staff adversely affect the efficiency of the fast track courts.

-Source: Indian Express


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