The law ministry has chalked a comprehensive plan to clear the backlog of pending rape and POCSO Act cases within a year. The law ministry plans to dispose of 1,66,882 pending rape and POCSO Act cases within a year by setting up 1023 Fast-Track Courts across the country.
Addressing the grave menace of sexual depravity, the government has asked each High Court and state to convey their willingness to be a part of the scheme by December 31. Several states are already running FTCs for trials of POCSO Act cases. The government is also likely to suggest a similar Fast Track Court scheme under the 15th Finance Commission (2020-2025).
“POCSO Act also directs that probes in such cases be completed within 2 months of the registration of FIR and the trial be completed within 6 months. However, despite strong law and policy framework, a large number of POCSO Act cases and rape cases remain pending across the country,” the law ministry said.
According to the data accumulated by the ministry, there are about 389 districts across the country where the pending POCSO Act cases exceed more than 100. In compliance with the Supreme Court directive, the government has ordered to set up Fast Track Courts in such districts.
The FTC trials will be monitored quarterly by the department of justice under the law ministry and each of these FTCs will be connected to the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) that updates the status of the cases on a daily basis.
The department of justice will analyse the data received from the quarterly reports by the high courts and the NJDG to draw a comparative analysis of the performances of FTCs and identify best practices from it.
Out of the pending 1,66,882 rape cases, 1,60,989 cases fall under the POCSO Act, which amounts to over 96%. The POCSO Act, 2012 was legislated to provide a robust legal framework for the protection of children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process. The Act includes mechanisms for child-friendly reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts.