Centre has proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track special courts (FTSCs) for expeditious trial of over 1.66 lakh pending cases of crime against women and children across the country. Each of these special courts are expected to dispose of at least 165 such case per year, said a proposal by the Department of Justice under Union Law Ministry.

A total of 1,023 FTSCs will be set up, out of which 389 courts, as per a Supreme Court direction, will exclusively handle cases registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, it said.

The remaining 634 FTSCs will deal with either rape cases or both rape and POCSO Act cases depending upon the pendency and requirement. “Each FTSC is expected to dispose of 41-42 cases each quarter and at least 165 cases in a year,” the proposal added.

According to the Department’s proposal note, a total of 1,66,882 cases of rape and those under POCSO Act are pending trial in various courts across the country. There are 389 districts in the country where the number of pending cases under POCSO Act exceeds 100. Therefore, as per the court directives, each of such districts will have one exclusive POCSO court, which will try no other cases, the note said.

The process of setting up of these FTSCs is likely to begin from October 2, the Law Ministry had earlier said. The Department of Justice had proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts at a total budget of Rs767.25 crore. The Central support of Rs474 crore for one year will be funded from the Nirbhaya Fund.

In a letter to the Cabinet Secretariat on August 8, the Department of Justice had said after recommendation of expenditure finance committee on July 11 and approval of the law minister, the proposal has been forwarded to the finance minister for approval.

“Simultaneously, other connected actions are being taken as setting up of FTSCs is planned to start from October 2, 2019,” the department wrote.

The Union Cabinet on July 10 had approved amendments in the POCSO Act and included death penalty for sexual assault on minors. The amendments in the POCSO Act also provide for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.

(With inputs from PTI)