Fast-Track Justice for Sexual Crime

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admin August 30, 2021
Updated 2021/11/05 at 6:17 AM

The Union Cabinet has approved the continuance of over 1000 Fast Track Special Courts, a centrally supported scheme that ensures faster delivery of justice to victims of sexual offences, for another two years. Three hundred eighty-nine separate POCSO courts have been established to accelerate trials and provide quick relief to adolescent girls who have been the victims of sexual offences. The initiative, which began on October 2, 2019, would be continued with a total cost of more than Rs 1,572 crore. The Centre would provide Rs 971 crore from the Nirbhaya Fund, with states anticipated to contribute the rest.

In the roughly two years since its inception, how effective has this method been?

Justice delayed is justice denied, and the constitutional framework also guarantees that every accused person has the right to prove his innocence until the end of the case. The judicial system must strike a balance, ensuring that, on the one hand, the victim receives justice, but that, on the other hand, we do not deny justice to the accused in the process. This balancing act adds a significant amount of time to the final disposition of the cases. If we look at the Indian situation, we can see that the courts have thousands and lakhs of pending cases, whether criminal or civil, but there is a lot more stress when there are criminal cases lingering. In today’s environment, the parliament has enacted a slew of new regulations aimed at protecting women and children. Amendments have been made numerous times to close loopholes and improve the laws. The most recent amendment was a 2018 criminal law amendment that demanded significantly harsher penalties for the rape of minor women under the age of 16. The same amendment proposed the death sentence as a punishment if the victim was under the age of 12 and life imprisonment if the victim was under the age of 16. In the year 2019, the Supreme Court issued an order mandating the creation of a special court for POCSO, and in any district with more than 100 cases, a special designated court should be established.

What are the Issues?

All of these adjustments were made to guarantee that victims receive prompt justice, however, according to reports from the Ministry of Home Affairs, only 597 of the 1023 fast track courts are operational, with the remaining 321 being POCSO courts. Despite such harsh sanctions, small girl child rapes continue to make headlines on a daily basis. According to POCSO, the matter should be decided within sixty days following the filing of the chargesheet, however, it is taking much longer due to procedural delays. All of these adjustments were made to guarantee that victims receive prompt justice, however, according to reports from the Ministry of Home Affairs, only 597 of the 1023 fast track courts are operational, with the remaining 321 being POCSO courts. Despite such harsh sanctions, small girl child rapes continue to make headlines on a daily basis. According to POCSO, the matter should be decided within sixty days following the filing of the chargesheet, however, it is taking much longer due to procedural delays.

What are the reforms needed

Sensitization must take place in public and should begin at home. Change must begin with a shift in society’s thinking. Fast track court will not help unless and until the society’s psyche is cleansed of its filth. Making laws more severe will help, but only if they are implemented properly and on schedule. Another issue that requires improvement is the lack of infrastructure, as sufficient infrastructure is required to ensure that the victim does not have to come too close to the accused. Even if a special court is established, special judges will be appointed. Even now, 20% of magistrate positions in the lower judiciary are unfilled, and these are permanent vacancies. The number of cases brought before a court should be restricted, and the legal process should be reinforced as well. If an easier procedure and mechanism can be established for the special court without jeopardising the fairness of the trial, the special court can follow the special procedure. Because such occurrences are more common in rural areas, we must pay special attention to them. To transform the rural public’s thinking, we must begin with sex education and sensitization. People must be informed of the legislation, which is sadly more lacking in the rural sector. As a result, legal awareness and sensitization of all segments of society are essential.

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