By: Parveen Kaswan (Follow for more updates)
In the aftermath of every shocking incident that happens in India, a collective voice is raised by people from all fields against the slow pace of our judicial system and also for setting Fast Track Courts for various crimes. Recently Honourable Supreme Court has expressed serious concern that 90 per cent of the rape cases ended in acquittal and wondered what was wrong with India’s criminal justice system, “The situation is going from bad to worse”.
This incident have geared up call for establishing the fast track court system in our country once again. Even some people will take this term as new for Indian Justice Delivery system but in fact it is well associated with our judiciary system for a quite long. This term is not new for our country, but the matter is that now it is demanded from all dimensions of society in a louder voice. It is rightly said that Justice delayed is justice denied. According to current data in India about 2.9 crore cases are pending in district courts across the country, 43.2 lack cases in high courts and 65000 cases in supreme court.
Fast Track Courts are courts where trial is done on day to day bases, it delivers fair justice because there are more chances of manipulation of evidence’s and documents in long run, that is not with the case of speedy trial. Once again demand for speedy trial is just reached to a crescendo and of course it is much needed as it is a fundamental right of a citizen. But speedy trial is not the only and complete solution, it is another important patch work that is urgently required. When Judiciary in country is lacking in every other aspect like shortage of manpower and shortage of infrastructure etc. In current judicial system under trial’s remain in jail for a very long period even sometime more than the punishment.
According to experts one of the main cause of delay in cases is the frequent adjournment to counsel for the asking. This is the situation when an advocate or counsel from any side asks for adjournment or delay in hearing to produce affidavits or related documents, which he/she is unable to produce that time. Sometime even government is not ready with affidavits when cases are called out and asks for adjournment. Recently supreme court also gave direction in his ruling that convenience of counsel is not a special provision to grant a adjournment under section 309 of the criminal procedure code.
In current scenario India has roughly 12 judges per million in the population, which is very inadequate as compared to other countries. For example America has around 50 judges per million. And it is generally estimated that for large, developing countries, you need roughly 60 judges per million. It clearly shows that India has one-fifth the number of judges it ought to have. Inadequate fund is available for the judicial sector, than how we can expect for improvement in facilities.
The eleventh Finance commission gave its recommendation for creation of 1734 Fast Track Courts for speedy trials. 502.90 crore was sanctioned as “special problem and up gradation grant” for judicial administration by Ministry of Finance. The primary responsibility was of state government to establish FTC’s with consultation with respective High courts. This scheme was working till 2010 with monitoring the functioning of Fast Track Courts by Honorable Supreme Court through the case of Brij Mohan Lal Vs UOI & Ors. It was finally decided by the Union Government that there will be no central funding for Fast Track Courts beyond 31-03-2011.
But it is interesting to notice, how fund get reduced with time for fast track courts. The question is whether crime get reduced or need of fast track courts get vanished, if it so than what data government has followed. But all data are showing increase in crime only. A Thomson Reuters Foundation survey stated that India is worst place for women among top 19 economies and “Crime, Gender, and Society in India: Insights from Homicide Data” shows a rise in crimes.
In short government back-tracked from its move because of its expensiveness (according to them), and the central government and state governments have decided to disband the fast-track courts because they involve money which they don’t want to spend on the judiciary. The question is whether our governments are even unable to provide money of tax-payers for setting up proper judicial system for free and speedy justice delivery system that is also meant for the same people??
Now government is again setting up the same system because of public pressure, we hope now this time it will continue with its spirit. Step is very noble and we whole heartedly welcome this move from government. For sure we need Fast Track Courts in the rape cases so that fair justice should be delivered in a time bound manner. We not only need Fast Track Courts for rape cases but also for domestic violence cases, matrimonial cases, cases where women are in divorce proceedings, tribal displacement cases, slum demolition cases, labor cases ; what the hell this list is never ending. Government is taking care of economic development and social development: fair enough but I think we need to understand that Judiciary is also as important as other pillars of the government like executive and legislature. We need a big renovation in form of reforms for our Judicial System.