Need more than just fast track court for swift justice

Change judicial system in sync with modern age, say legal experts

 After the gruesome rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in a city bus, the Delhi government had demanded setting up of five fast track courts (FTCs) in each of the five district courts for the speedy delivery of justice in heinous cases.

While the FTC may happen to deliver in this particular case since the whole nation is watching it, experts believe that FTCs in themselves are not enough to dispose off cases faster. In fact the need of the hour are modernisation of courts, changes in laws and appointment of more judges.

Quoting the case of Uttar Pradesh where fast track courts were scrapped in February 2011 citing budget limitations as the official reason, senior criminal lawyer O P Sharma said FTCs themselves got so clogged with work that the High Court had to give them fixed number of cases to dispose off in a month.

“In case of Meerut district FTC, it was told to dispose off 14 cases per month. So what happens when a fixed time frame is put. There is no trial but just disposal of cases,” said Sharma.

“Sometimes, compromises are done and witnesses turn hostile since you have to achieve your quota of cases. The very purpose of setting them up was beaten before they were abolished,” added Sharma.

Talking in context of the six accused in the Delhi gang rape case, Sharma said even after the FTC concludes its trial speedily, what will stop the accused from approaching the High Court?

“Suppose the FTC in this case concludes its trial in four months. The accuse will obviously approach the High Court and then Supreme Court, where things move at their own pace. So going by this logic, what we need is fast track courts at the level of High Court and the apex court too,” he said.

As per Vikas Pahwa, senior criminal lawyer and CBI standing council at Delhi High Court, having three or four FTCs is not an alternative.

“I think all the courts in the country should be made fast track court and should conclude their trial in a session, as contemplated in the code of criminal procedure,” said Pahwa.

“All trial courts in the country should stop giving adjournments and conclude the entire trial in one go — that is one session,” added Pahwa. He said the criminal justice system does not differentiate between offences of rape, kidnap, murder or dacoity and that all cases should be given due importance and the victim should get swift justice.

Vikas Soni, Supreme Court lawyer, stresses that from change in Criminal Procedure Code to modernisation of courts and appointment of more judges, the Indian judicial system needs many changes to bring it in sync with the modern time and age.

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