The Union Cabinet has approved a three-year extension for the ongoing special fast-track courts dedicated to expediting justice in sexual offence cases.
Following the enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2018, triggered by the “Nirbhaya” gangrape case in Delhi, the Central government had initiated the establishment of 1,023 fast-track special courts (FTSCs).
This included 389 exclusively designated to handle cases related to violations of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, distributed across 31 states and Union Territories.
A government official had previously indicated that, despite concerted efforts by the Centre, only 754 out of the 1,023 courts were operational. While numerous states had committed to establishing such courts, the actual operationalisation was limited.
Although the scheme officially concluded on March 31 of this year, the Law Ministry has obtained approval to ensure the continuation of funds. On Tuesday, the cabinet granted approval for a three-year extension of the scheme, as per sources. While there is no official confirmation, it is speculated that the extension may be for 790 FTSCs instead of the initially planned 1,023.
Each FTSC was designed to adjudicate between 65 and 165 cases annually, with an estimated annual expenditure of Rs 75 lakh for the operation of one court, involving one judicial officer and seven support staff.