Fast track court scheme extended by a year

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) The central government Thursday extended by a year its decade-old fast track court scheme under which it provides funds to states for speedy disposal of criminal cases.

The decision to grant a year-long extension to the scheme was taken in a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

She said the scheme of the fast track courts was approved for a further period of one year till March 31, 2011.

Following the extension of the scheme, all the 1,562 fast track courts established across the country will be given a central assistance at the rate of Rs.4.80 lakh per court for another year, she said.

The parliament has already approved a budget provision of Rs.75 crore, the minister added.

In the last 10 years, all the fast track courts have been able to dispose 28.38 lakh cases out of 35.02 lakh cases transferred to them.

A total of 1,743 fast track courts were set up in 2000-01 following a recommendation by the Eleventh Finance Commission, which had mooted the idea for expeditious disposal of long-pending criminal cases.

The ministry of finance had subsequently sanctioned an amount of Rs.502.90 crore for establishment of 1,743 fast track courts, which were originally proposed to be set up for a period of five years till 2005.

Later in 2005, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government dragged its feet in extending the scheme, implemented by its predecessor the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government, the Supreme Court intervened and the scheme was extended for another five years.

The United Progressive Alliance-I government accordingly sanctioned a sum of Rs.509 crore for sustaining the 1,562 fast track courts that existed March 31, 2005.

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