The law minister plans to eliminate the delay in 1 year with fast-track courts

NEW DELHI: In a bleak reminder that children continue to face the worst part of sexual depravity, more than 96% of the 1,66,882 pending rape trials are registered under the Law (Pocso).

The law ministry has developed a comprehensive plan to accelerate the elimination of pending cases and violations within one year.

The plan provides for the selective elimination of 1.66,882 cases of rape and those under the Pocso Law, which includes 1,60,989 cases of the Pocso Law (according to data collected from the higher courts as of June 2019), within a year, the law ministry has said. The government is also likely to propose a similar fast-track court (FTC) scheme under the 15th Finance Commission (2020-2025).

The combined data for cases of violation and the Pocso Law are from March 31, 2018, and those for only the cases of the Pocso Law are from June 2019, both provided by the HC, with a delay of just over a year. However, it is unlikely that the current status of the Pocso Act number and other cases of violation is too different from the available data set.

The ministry of law has set a one-year objective, distributed during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, to complete the trial of these pending cases by creating 1,023 FTC throughout the country. The government has asked each HC and state government to express their desire to incorporate the scheme before December 31. Many states are already running FTC for the trial of the Pocso Law cases.

“The Pocso Law also requires that the investigation in the cases be completed in two months (from the date of FIR registration) and the trial in six months. However, despite a strong legal and policy framework, a large number of rape cases and the Pocso Law are pending in several courts in the country, ”said the ministry. However, he did not mention how long these cases have been pending.

The ministry, which received data on all cases pending violation and the Pocso Law of the HC, said there were 389 districts where the number of cases pending under the Pocso Law exceeded 100. The government has issued directives to establish a road court of the Pocso Law in each of these districts, which also complies with a similar directive of the Supreme Court.

The justice department in the law ministry will monitor these trials quarterly and each of these FTCs will connect to (NJDG), which updates the status of all cases on a daily basis, including their removal.

“The data will be collected from the quarterly reports submitted by the higher courts and the NJDG database by the justice department. It will analyze the data and prepare a comparative analysis of the performance of the FTC to identify good practices and performance, ”said the ministry.

The Pocso Law, notified in 2012, establishes special courts for the trial of cases of crimes against children to protect minors and prevent them from becoming victims of the courts that have to deal with the long penance of other cases. A Pocso Law court has provisions for trial on camera in a child-friendly environment without revealing children's identity.

The government informed Lok Sabha on Friday that 218 FTC will be established in UP for the rapid elimination of cases.