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Rape trial: Target 1,000, only 366 fast-track courts set up

Fast-track courts

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Fast-track courts

In News:

  • The four convicts in the Delhi December 16 gangrape and murder case were hanged inside Tihar Jail.
  • Meanwhile, the Union law ministry has shared data from various high courts, regarding the rape trials and child sexual offences.
  • The data shows that the government’s resolve to fast-track trials in 2.44 lakh rape and child sexual offence cases seems to be progressing at a slow pace.

Summary of the released data:

  • In 2019, the Centre announced setting up of 1,023 fast track courts (FTCs).
  • The government has allocated funds to these states and issued advisories to immediately set up fast track courts (FTCs), in each of these districts.
  • Out of which till now only 21 states have come forward and set up 366 FTCs, including the five north-eastern states.

Rape Cases in India:

  • During the last one year, rape cases against women and children have increased by 46%, from 1.66 lakh in 2018 to 2.44 lakh in 2019.

Child Sexual offenses in India:

  • About 96% of the rape cases are those against children booked under the Pocso (prevention of children from sexual offences) Act that mandatorily provides for completion of investigation within two months, from the date of registration of the FIR, and trial within six months.
  • There are at least 389 districts in the country where the number of pending cases under Pocso Act exceeds 100.
  • However, a latest status report reveals that only 21 states have so far set up FTCs.

Fast Track Courts set up in India:

  • UP accounts for the highest number of FTCs (74), followed by Madhya Pradesh (56), Rajasthan (45), Gujarat (35) and Maharashtra (30).
  • West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Odisha, which have high number of pending rape/Pocso cases, are yet to set up FTCs.

Pending Cases:

  • Target to complete trials: The law ministry has set a target of one year to complete trial of all 2.44 lakh pending rape/POCSO cases, by March 2021.

State-wise data on pendency of cases:

  • The highest pendency has been in UP.
  • UP is followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal, MP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi that have reported highest pendency of rape cases.
NOTE: Two states, UP and MP, have shown increase in pendency of rape cases by over 80% during March 2018 and December 2019 while Delhi has shown a phenomenal growth of over 353% despite the fact that it has many FTCs already running to dispose of the pendency.

About: The Nirbhaya Fund

  • The Nirbhaya Fund was created in 2013 in the aftermath of December 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case.
  • The victim was then given a name, Nirbhaya (which literally means fearless).
  • The government announced a separate fund for meeting expenditures to ensure safety of women.
  • The government proposed an allocation of Rs 10,000 crore under Nirbhaya Fund to ensure safety of women.
  • Under the Nirbhaya Fund the Centre gives money to the states, which in turn spend it on programmes meant for ensuring women’s safety.
  • The Women and Child Development Ministry is the nodal agency for expenditure from the Nirbhaya Fund.
  • Earlier, it was the one releasing the funds but now it examines the programmes submitted to it by the states under Nirbhaya scheme, approves them and recommends to the department of economic affairs for allocating funds.
  • The Nirbhaya Fund was set up to help rape victims and ensure their rehabilitation.

Nirbhaya Fund utilization:

  • Nirbhaya Fund utilization is 20% for money released by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry and less than 9% in the case of Union home ministry’s allocation.

Also Read: Is the global economy headed for recession?

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