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1,200 Fast Track Courts In India But 600,000 Cases Still Pending

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Highlights 

*Bihar has the highest number of fast track courts but also the second highest number of pending cases
* Courts in Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the most efficient in  delivering justice

* While 3.89 million cases have been transferred to fast track courts, they have disposed of only 3.29 million cases – a clearance rate of 84%

 

There has been a rising clamour for fast track courts in India. Such courts, it is felt, will address the general backlog of cases as well as respond to heinous crimes more effectively. What does the track record for fast track courts show? And are fast track courts the near panacea they are made out to be? IndiaSpend’s Prachi Salve looks at the data on fast track courts in India, which have been in existence since 2001.

 

Fast Track Courts

 

Fast track courts were set up for expeditious disposal of long-pending cases and cases involving under trial prisoners with an initial tenure of five years.  The scheme was supposed to end in 2005 but has been extended beyond 2012.  The term of the fast track court scheme was extended after the Supreme Court observed that they should not be disbanded suddenly and directed the Union of India to continue the courts.  The total number of fast track courts in India, until 2011, is 1,192.  The Ministry of Law and Justice has sanctioned Rs 502.90 crore as a special upgradation grant for fast track courts since 2005.

 

Table 1: Allocations For Fast Track Courts

 

Year Grant released (Rs. Cr)
2005-06 100.00
2006-07 100.00
2007-08 57.2
2008-09 54.56
2009-10 56-13
2010-11 73.13

 

Source: Department of Justice

 

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the highest number of fast track courts with 179 and 153 courts, respectively.

 

Table 2: Fast Track Court Ranking

 

State Number of FTCs

Top 5

Bihar 179
U.P 153
West Bengal 109
Andhra Pradesh 108

Bottom 5

Manipur 2
Nagaland 2
Meghalaya 3
Mizoram 3
Tripura 3
Total 1,192

 

Source Rajya Sabha

 

Let us now look at the cases handled by the fast track courts across the country.  While 3.89 million cases have been transferred from various courts to fast track courts across the country, they have disposed of 3.29 million cases – a clearance rate (calculated by dividing the transferred cases and the cases disposed) of 84%.  For comparison, as per a statement by former Law Minister Salman Khurshid in the Lok Sabha last year, there were over 63,000 cases pending in the Supreme Court (as on July 31, 2012) and 4.3 million cases in various High Courts (as of December 31, 2011).

 

Table 3:  Orissa, U.P Fast Track Courts Most Efficient

 

State Transferred cases Disposed cases Pending cases Clearance rate

Top 5

Tripura 5,812 5,591 221 96
Manipur 3,059 2,861 198 94
Orissa 66,199 60,441 5758 91
U.P 98,797 89,791 9006 91
Tamil Nadu 4,11,957 3,71,336 40,621 90

Bottom 5

Arunachal Pradesh 4,162 1,660 2,502 40
Bihar 2,39,278 1,59,105 80,173 66
Assam 72,191 55,811 16,380 77
West Bengal 1,46,083 1,13,903 32,180 78
Goa 5096 4017 1079 79
Total 3,898,598 3,292,785 605,813 84

 

Source: Rajya Sabha

 

Funding wise, the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana have seen significant increase in central assistance through the FTC scheme.  And states like Tamil Nadu and Punjab have actually seen a decline in central assistance over the years.

 

Table 4: Central Assistance For Fast Track Courts

 

State (In Rs cr) 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Difference %

Top 5

Andhra Pradesh 1.42 10.96 670
Karnataka 1.82 4.46 4.41 142
Haryana 0.38 0.76 0.67 75
Gujarat 5.80 7.77 34
Manipur 4.17 4.12 5.37 29

Bottom 5

U.P 11.61 11.61 10.94 -6
Chhattisgarh 1.48 1.48 1.29 -13
Jharkhand 2.49 1.96 1.92 -23
Punjab 0 1.63 0.81 -50
Tamil Nadu 0 4.70 2.35 -50
Total 54.56 56.13 73.15 34%

 

Source: Rajya Sabha

 

So, while Bihar has the highest number of fast track courts (179), it has the second highest number of pending cases and one of the worst clearance rate of only 66%.

 

Arunachal Pradesh has one of the lowest numbers of fast track courts (3) and the lowest clearance rate of only 40%.   In contrast, Manipur has only two fast track courts (partially explained by low population) but it has one of the best clearance rates in the country with 94%, preceded only by Tripura with 96% (this could be due to low number of cases).

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