29 April 2012
I could not place a comment in reply to a query on this topic. I am giving below an article written by my friend Sri MV Ruparelia on Fast Tracks. Members may find it useful. === Fast Track Courts. M.V.Ruparelia.
It was first time in 1999, the International Year Of Older Persons that Orders were issued by Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India had issued orders to identify and dispose of all matters on priority basis in which persons above 65 years of age are involved. Thereafter, Eleventh Finance Commission (2000-2005) formulated the Scheme of Fast Track Courts along with several Schemes of Upgradation of Standards of Administration with a view to streamlining the working of several departments of State Governments, which were in arrears and sanctioned special grants. It was observed by EFC that there were two crore cases pending in District & Subordinate Courts.EFC sanctioned a grant of Rs.502.90 crores for creation of 1734 additional Courts specifically for the purpose of disposing of long pending cases. These additional Courts are called Fast Track Courts. , as Special Problem & Upgradation Grant for all States/ UTs. It was expected that with these additional Courts & the reforms in the laws & procedure, cases will get reduced considerably, if not completely eliminated. The Scheme was further extended for five years with grant of Special Grant of Rs. 509 crores. This assistance from Centre is limited to an approved norm i.e. Rs 4.80 per court p.a. for recurring expenditure & Rs 8.60 for establishing new court (initial non-recurring for building, furniture etc). It is the primary responsibility of State Governments to establish Fast Track Courts in consultation with their High Courts as per these norms and bear all additional expenditure. Shri Jaitley, the then Law Minister wrote to each Chief Minister and Chief Justice of States vide his D.O. letter no. 12011/2/2003-Jus(M) dt 10-7-2003 to actively pursue the objective of establishing full complement of additional courts and get all session courts cases pending for two years disposed off early, emphasising that due priority should be given to more vulnerable segment and disadvantaged section of the community namely people in the 60 plus age group. He brought out that the Chief Justice of India has already brought out to the notice of High Court Judges to take up pending matters involving older persons on priority basis. Chief Justice had identified that in India, there is high incidence of litigation concerning property, inheritance, tenancy disputes and service matters in which elderly are involved. There are also older persons languishing in jails as under trial prisoners facing criminal charges. It was desired by Law Minister that elderly litigants, either as complainant or defendant should be given immense relief by providing separate Fast Tract Courts and their cases should be given priority regardless of duration. He laid down that wherever there are more than one Fast Track Court, one of them should be earmarked exclusively to deal with cases involving senior citizens. Where there is only one FTC, instructions must be issued to deal with all cases involving Senior Citizens on priority. All cases pending with normal courts and District Judges must be transferred to FTC for priority dealing. He further desired that an Action Plan to deal with cases of Senior Citizens should be drawn out in consultation of High Courts, so that this essential Judicial Reform is achieved at the earliest. Almost 1300 FTCs are working in various States/UTs and have disposed off 28-84 lakh cases out of 21.16 lakh cases allotted to them till May,2008. Separate figures of cases of Senior Citizens are not available. The Central Government acts as a coordinator & facilitator and the actual implementation rests with the States/High Courts. Maharashtra State has asked Centre for additional Rs 500 crore for disposing 41 lakh cases as per latest Press Reports ( DNA 15-6-10). Ministry of Law & Justice has advised that instructions have been issued to National Judicial Acedamy, the apex training authority for Judicial Officers in the Country, for inclusion of a module in their training programme on the need for expeditious disposal of cases of Senior Citizens. A proposal for expansion of legal services/Legal Aid to Senior Citizens under Sec 12 of the Legal Sevices Authority Act,1987 is under their consideration. ===