August 2019
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Bills mandating death penalty for ‘honour killing’ and against ‘mob lynching’ passed in Rajasthan Assembly

Mains Paper 3 : Social Media Networks & Internal Security |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Honour killings


News
 A bill was passed in the Rajasthan Assembly to curb incidents of ‘honour killing’ in the State with the provision of punishment of death penalty or life imprisonment for murdering couples in the name of family honour.

About the Bill
 The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019 was passed by a voice vote.
 The lawmakers said that Sections of the IPC and the CrPc were not adequate in dealing with such cases so the Bill was moved.
 It has been introduced so that people overcome the narrow mindset
 In the past five years in the state, 71 cases of illegal diktat given by ‘Khap Panchayats’ (caste councils which function like kangaroo courts) were registered and 10 cases of honour killing occurred.

Provisions of the Bill
 The Bill provisions punishment of death penalty or life imprisonment till natural death for killing a couple or either of them in the name of honour.
 Whoever causes death of a couple or either of them on the basis that marriage of such couple has dishonoured, or brought disrepute to the caste, community or family shall be punished with death, or with imprisonment for life.
 It shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine which may extend to ₹5 lakh.
 If the couple or either of them is grievously hurt, the punishment will be from 10 years rigorous imprisonment to imprisonment for life and with fine of  maximum ₹3 lakh, whereas the punishment will be three to five years imprisonment with fine which may extend to ₹2 lakh in case of simple injuries, it says.

Ban on unlawful assembly
 According to the Bill, SDM or the DM shall receive any request or information from any person or persons seeking protection from any unlawful assembly, or from any other person who is likely to or who have been
objecting to any lawful marriage.
 It says no person or group shall assemble at any time with the view or intention to deliberate on or condemn any marriage, not prohibited by law.
 On the basis that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned.
 Such gathering shall be treated unlawful and every person convening or organising such assembly, and every member, thereof, participating therein directly or indirectly shall be punishable with imprisonment.

Why need such bill?

There has been a spurt in illegal intimidation by self-appointed bodies for bringing pressure against ‘sagotra’ marriages and inter-caste, inter-community and inter-religious marriages between two consenting adults in the name of vindicating the honour of family, caste or community.
Although, such intimidation or acts of violence constitute offences under the Indian Penal Code, it is necessary to prevent assemblies which take place to condemn such alliances as also to punish such acts of violence and
criminal intimidation severely.

News
 The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019’ was also passed.

Definition of a mob lynching
 The Bill defines the mob as a group of two or more individuals.
 It also defines lynching as  an act or series of acts of violence or those of aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or preplanned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation or ethnicity

Penal Provisions
 For the offence of an assault by mob, leading to the victim suffering grievous hurts, the Bill provides for jail terms up to 10 years and a fine of ₹25,000 to ₹3 lakh.
 In cases of the victims suffering simple injuries, the Bill proposes imprisonment up to seven years and a fine up to ₹1 lakh.
 For hatching a conspiracy of lynching or aiding, abetting or attempting such an offence, the Bill seeks to punish the offenders in the same manner as if he actually committed the offence of lynching.
 The Bill also enlists various other offences related to the lynching such as dissemination of offensive materials, propagation of hostile environment and obstructing legal processes, which would be punishable with jail terms varying from three to five years.
 It also stipulates the provision of compensation to victims by the State government as per the Rajasthan

Victim Compensation Scheme.
 It also binds the State government to take necessary measures to rehabilitate the victims of mob lynching, suffering displacements from their native places.
Empowering state police
 The Bill also empowers the State police chief to appoint a state coordinator of the rank of IG of Police to prevent the incidents of lynching in the State with the district SPs acting as the district’s coordinator.
 They are to be assisted by a Dy.SPs for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.

Explained: Special Provisions for Other States

Mains Paper 2 : Schemes For Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Special provisions in the constitution

Mains level : Nothing much


News
 The union government has revoked the ‘special status’ granted to Jammu and Kashmir by the Constitution.
 However, a range of “special provisions” for as many as 11 other states continue to be part of the Constitution.

Part XXI of the Constitution
 The part ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’, includes, apart from Article 370 (Temporary Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir) Articles 371, 371A, 371B, 371C, 371D, 371E, 371F, 371G, 371H, and 371J.
 These define special provisions with regard to other states of the Indian Union.

Special Provisions but not special treatment
 All these provisions take into account the special circumstances of individual states, and lay down a wide range of specific safeguards that are deemed important for these states.
 In these range of Articles from 371 to 371J, Article 371I, which deals with Goa, stands out in the sense that it does not include any provision that can be deemed “special”.
 Article 371E, which deals with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, is not that “special”.
 The special provisions laid down in Article 370 before it was modified were obviously much more farreaching than the special provisions for other states, described in Articles 371, 371A-H, and 371J.
The following special provisions are guaranteed by the Constitution to states
other than Jammu and Kashmir:
Maharashtra and Gujarat (Article 371)
The Governor has a “special responsibility”-
 To establish “separate development boards” for “Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of Maharashtra”, and Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat;
 To ensure “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said areas”, and “equitable arrangement providing adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training, and adequate opportunities for employment” under the state government.

Nagaland (Article 371A, 13th Amendment Act, 1962)
 Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, the Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law.
 Parliament also cannot intervene in ownership and transfer of land and its resources, without the concurrence of the Legislative Assembly of the state.

 This provision was inserted in the Constitution after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963.
 Also, there is a provision for a 35-member Regional Council for Tuensang district, which elects the Tuensang members in the Assembly.
 A member from the Tuensang district is Minister for Tuensang Affairs. The Governor has the final say on all Tuensang-related matters.
Assam (Article 371B, 22nd Amendment Act, 1969)
 The President of India may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the state Assembly consisting of members elected from the tribal areas of the state.
Manipur (Article 371C, 27th Amendment Act, 1971)
 The President of India may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas of the state in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning.
 The Governor has to file a report every year on this subject to the President.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Article 371D, 32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014)
 The President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”.
 He may require the state government to organise “any class or classes of posts in a civil service of, or any class or classes of civil posts under, the State into different local cadres for different parts of the State”, and allot them.
 The President has similar powers vis-à-vis admissions in any university or state government-run educational institution.
 Also, he may provide for setting up of an administrative tribunal outside the jurisdiction of the High Court to deal with issues of appointment, allotment or promotion in state civil services.
 Article 371E allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not really a ‘special provision’ in the sense of the other provisions in this part of the Constitution.
Sikkim (Article 371F, 36th Amendment Act, 1975)
 The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People.
 To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.
 The Governor shall have “special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population”.
 All earlier laws in territories that formed Sikkim shall continue, and any adaptation or modification shall not be questioned in any court.
Mizoram (Article 371G, 53rd Amendment Act, 1986)
 This provision lays down that Parliament cannot make laws on “religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land… unless the Legislative
Assembly… by a resolution so decides”.
Arunachal Pradesh (Article 371H, 55th Amendment Act, 1986)
 The Governor has a special responsibility with regard to law and order, and he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken.
 Should a question arise over whether a particular matter is one in which the Governor is “required to act in the exercise of his individual judgment, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final”, and “shall not be called in question”
Karnataka (Article 371J, 98th Amendment Act, 2012)
 There is a provision for the establishment of a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the working of which will be reported annually to the Assembly.
 There shall be “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said region”, and “equitable opportunities and facilities” for people of this region in government jobs and education.
 An order can be made to provide for reservation “of a proportion” of seats and jobs in educational and vocational training institutions and state government organisations respectively in the Hyderabad-
Karnataka region for individuals who belong to that region by birth or domicile.

UNSC Resolution 47 on Kashmir

Mains Paper 2 : India & Its Neighborhood - Relations |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNSC resolution on Kashmir

Mains level : Kashmir issue


News
 Pakistan’s PM cried foul on the move to scrap Art. 370 terming it as illegal.
 It said that no unilateral step by the Government of India can change the disputed status, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

The UNSC Resolution 47
 Pakistan referred to Resolution 47 of the UNSC that focuses on the complaint of the Government of India concerning the dispute over the State of J&K that India took to the Security Council in January 1948.
 In October 1947, following an invasion by soldiers from the Pakistan Army in  plainclothes and tribesmen, the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh sought assistance from India and signed the Instrument of Accession.
 After the first war in Kashmir (1947-1948), India approached the UN Security Council to bring the conflict in Kashmir to the notice of Security Council members.

Who were the UNSC members who oversaw the issue?
 The UN Security Council increased the size of the investigating council to include six members along with permanent members of the UNSC.
 Along with the five permanent members, China, France, UK, US & Russia, non-permanent members included Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Syria and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

What happened at the UNSC?
 India’s position was that it was ready to hold a plebiscite, a direct vote in which an entire electorate votes on a specific proposal, to know of the people’s desire and accept the results of the vote.
 Pakistan denied its involvement in the conflict and counter-accused India.
 UNSC ordered for the conflict to cease and to create conditions for a “free and impartial plebiscite” to decide whether Jammu and Kashmir would accede to India or Pakistan.

What did the UNSC order Pakistan to do?
 The UNSC ordered that Pakistan was to withdraw its tribesmen and Pakistan nationals who had entered the State for the purpose of fighting.
 It ordered Pak to prevent future intrusions and to prevent “furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State”.
 The UNSC also stated that it gave “full freedom to all subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste or party, to express their views” and the freedom to vote on the issue of the accession of the State.
 It was also ordered Pakistan to cooperate with maintaining peace and order.

What did the UNSC order India to do?
 The UNSC had a more comprehensive set of orders for India.
 It said that after the Pakistani withdrawal from the State and the fighting had ceased, India was to submit a plan to the Commission for its withdrawing forces from J&K and to reduce them over a period of time to the minimum strength required for civil maintenance of law and order.

 India was ordered to appraise the Commission of the stages at which steps had been taken to reduce military presence to the minimum strength and to arrange remaining troops after consultations with the Commission.
 Among other instructions, India was ordered to agree that till the time the Plebiscite Administration found it necessary to exercise the powers of direction and supervision over the State forces and police,
 These forces would be held in areas to be agreed upon with the Plebiscite Administrator.
 It also directed India to recruit local personnel for law and order and to safeguard the rights of minorities.

How did India & Pakistan react to the UNSC Resolution 47?
India
 Both countries rejected Resolution 47.
 India’s contention was that the resolution ignored the military invasion by Pakistan and placing both nations on an equal diplomatic ground was a dismissal of Pakistan’s aggression.
 The Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh had signed the Instrument of Accession to India.
 India also objected to the Resolution’s requirement that did not allow India to retain military presence which it believed it needed for defence.
 The Resolution’s order to form a coalition government would also put Sheikh Abdullah, the Prime Minister of the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, in a difficult position.
 India also believed that the powers conferred on the Plebiscite Administrator undermined the state’s sovereignty.
Pakistan
 India also wanted Pakistan to be excluded from the operations of the plebiscite.
 Pakistan on the other hand, objected to even the minimum presence of Indian forces in Kashmir, as allowed by the resolution.
 It also wanted an equal representation in the state government for the Muslim Conference, which was the dominant party in Pakistani-held Kashmir.
 Despite their differences with the provisions of Resolution 47, both India and Pakistan welcomed the UN Commission and agreed to work with it.

Kosi-Mechi River Interlinking Project

Mains Paper 1 : Geographical Features & Their Location |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Interlinking of rivers


News
 The Centre has approved the Rs 4,900 crore project for interlinking of Kosi and Mechi rivers of Bihar.
 This is the second major river interlinking project in the country to be approved after the Ken-Betwa project in Madhya Pradesh.

Kosi-Mechi River Interlining Project
 Bihar has got the final remaining mandatory techno- administrative approval for the project from the MoEFCC.
 The central government has approved construction of 76.20 km canals on eastern bank of Kosi for irrigation purpose, the minister said.
 Being a green project, it will not displace people nor require acquisition of forest land.

 The total land requirement is about 1,396.81 hectares.

Benefits of the project
 The project will not only prevent recurring floods in north Bihar, but also irrigate over 2.14 lakh hectares of cultivable land in Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar districts, collectively called Seemanchal region.
 The project is aimed at alleviating hardships of the people resulting from the floods and has the potential to usher in a green revolution in Seemanchal region.
 This project will provide a diversion to the surplus water of Kosi River through existing Hanuman Nagar barrage to Mechi River of Mahananda basin.
 Mechi River will get water from another source and it will become a vast natural resource of irrigation.
 There are no national parks, wildlife sanctuaries or eco-sensitive zones within 10 km radius of the project.

Move for a national project
 Bihar is pitching the river interlinking project for the national project & status and in that case the majority funding of the project will be borne by the Centre.
 The fact that the entire command area is contiguous to Indo-Nepal international boundary is a critical aspect that the Government of India would likely take special note.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Key provisions of the bill

Mains level : Analysis of the bill


News
 The Lok has passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote.
 The Bill seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and provides for constituting a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and the appointment of authorities for its regulation of practice and processes.

Defining Surrogacy
 The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
Regulation of surrogacy
 The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.
 Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate  mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
 Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.

Purposes for which surrogacy is permitted
Surrogacy is permitted when it is:
 for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility;
 altruistic;
 not for commercial purposes;
 not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation; and
 for any condition or disease specified through regulations.

Eligibility criteria for intending couple
 The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
 A certificate of essentiality will be issued upon fulfillment of the following conditions:
1. a certificate of proven infertility of one or both members of the intending couple from a District Medical Board;
2. an order of parentage and custody of the surrogate child passed by a Magistrate’s court; and
3. insurance coverage for a period of 16 months covering postpartum delivery complications for the surrogate.
 The certificate of eligibility to the intending couple is issued upon fulfillment of the following conditions:
1. the couple being Indian citizens and married for at least five years;
2. between 23 to 50 years old (wife) and 26 to 55 years old (husband);

3. they do not have any surviving child (biological, adopted or surrogate); this would not include a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life-threatening disorder or fatal illness; and
4. other conditions that may be specified by regulations.

Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother
To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
 a close relative of the intending couple;
 a married woman having a child of her own;
 25 to 35 years old;
 a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and
 possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.  Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.

Appropriate authority
 The central and state governments shall appoint one or more appropriate authorities within 90 days of the Bill becoming an Act.
 The functions of the appropriate authority include;

1. granting, suspending or cancelling registration of surrogacy clinics;
2. enforcing standards for surrogacy clinics;
3. investigating and taking action against breach of the provisions of the Bill;
4. recommending modifications to the rules and regulations.

Registration of surrogacy clinics
 Surrogacy clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority.
 Clinics must apply for registration within a period of 60 days from the date of appointment of the appropriate authority.

National and State Surrogacy Boards
 The central and the state governments shall constitute the National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and the State Surrogacy Boards (SSB), respectively.
 Functions of the NSB include, (i) advising the central government on policy matters relating to surrogacy; (ii) laying down the code of conduct of surrogacy clinics; and (iii) supervising the functioning of SSBs.

Parentage and abortion of surrogate child
 A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
 An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorisation of the appropriate authority.
 This authorisation must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
 Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.

Offences and penalties
 The offences under the Bill include:
1. undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy;
2. exploiting the surrogate mother;
3. abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child; and
4. selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy.

 The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.
 The Bill specifies a range of offences and penalties for other contraventions of the provisions of the Bill.

Surrogacy in India

[op-ed snap] A second opinion on doctor accreditation

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : NMC Bill - analysis; Challenges with MCI


CONTEXT

National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019 passed by the Rajya Sabha evoked widespread protests from doctors. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) called an all-India strike against a few contentious aspects of the bill.

Contentious provision

  1. Section 32 of the NMC Bill would grant “limited” licenses to almost 3,50,000 “community health providers” to practice allopathic medicine, provided they meet a set of qualifying criteria.
  2. Practitioners of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy could undertake a “bridge course” and legally start offering primary healthcare.

Reasons behind the provision

  1. India is woefully short of trained doctors, especially in the countryside.
  2. The shortage has slowed the state’s program to scale up healthcare facilities and medical education infrastructure.
  3. India still has less than one doctor for every 1,000 people, the WHO’s minimum ratio for healthcare adequacy.
  4. For the efficacy of schemes such as Ayushman Bharat covering 500 million citizens with health insurance—a vast leap needs to be taken on that count.
  5. These factors favor a pragmatic approach; a licensing system by which paramedics and others with an elementary grounding in healthcare could make up a part of the shortfall.
  6. Public services are unreliable and many find themselves priced out of the private market, thus, making medical consultancy unaffordable.

Problem 

  1. According to the IMA, letting patients be treated by people without MBBS degrees would amount to quackery gaining legitimacy in a country full of fraudulent cures and dodgy practices.

Way ahead

  1. Independent panel of well-regarded doctors could keep a close watch on the eligibility process for licenses.
  2. This could involve a common test after practical training has already been imparted.
Medical Education Governance in India

[op-ed snap] Great expectations: on Surrogacy Bill

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level : Nothing much


CONTEXT

Surrogacy needs to be regulated by law. 

Need for the law

  1. The issue of surrogacy is fraught with bioethical issues
  2. Regulations in the past in the area of child adoption and transplantation of human organs have borne fruit, putting an end to rampant commercial transactions 
  3. Flagrant violations of human rights have been witnessed repeatedly in the ‘baby-making factory’ in India – mostly with underprivileged women in the crosshairs and at the bottom of the pile. 
  4. Unregulated assisted reproductive techniques (ART) clinics mushroomed 
  5. India became a global health-care destination and there is a good volume of traffic toward the country along with growing domestic demand for surrogacy services

The bill should balance the purpose of regulating the complex area of surrogacy, while sensitively balancing the needs of ‘intending parents’ and surrogates.

Provisions of the bill

  1. The Bill mandates payment to the surrogate mother, who can only be a ‘close relative’, to the extent of covering medical expenses and providing insurance during the term of the pregnancy.
  2. It has specified that ‘exploiting the surrogate mother’ would attract punishment of imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to ₹10 lakh
  3. Advertising for surrogacy and selling/importing human embryos or gametes for surrogacy also attract the same punishment.
  4. It has mandated registration of surrogacy clinics and put in place regulatory boards to ensure compliance with the law. 

Challenges

  1. Lack of specifics in definitions
    1. generalized ‘close relative’ criterion for surrogates
    2. the exclusion of various groups of people from access to surrogacy: only married couples of a certain age group are eligible
    3. seeking to regulate surrogacy before setting the ART house in order
  2. The capacity of the state to end commercial surrogacy may itself be compromised if it does not first set up a regulatory framework for ART clinics, which provide the basic technology for surrogacy
Surrogacy in India

[op-ed snap] The hard realities of India’s fast-track courts

Mains Paper 2 : Executive & Judiciary |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Relevance and limitations of fast track courts


CONTEXT
The government has proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts to clear the cases under the POCSO Act. Supreme Court directed that districts with more than 100 cases pending under the POCSO Act need to set up special courts that can deal specifically with these cases.

Facts about fast track courts

  1. Fast-track courts (FTCs) have been around for a long time, with the first ones being established in the year 2000
  2. According to the Ministry of Law and Justice, at the end of March, there were 581 FTCs operational in the country, with approximately 5.9 lakh pending cases
  3. 56% of the States and Union Territories, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had no FTCs
  4. 870 crore was released by the Centre between 2000-2001 and 2010-2011 towards these FTCs
  5. Increasing the number of courts as a recourse to deal with the mounting backlog has been a common practice.

Challenges of fast track courts

  1. Though large sums of money and attention are being devoted to creating additional posts, little is being done to identify and address the prevalent systemic issues.
  2. Without fully optimising the current mechanisms and resolving the problems, sanctioning more judges may not provide the intended results.
  3. In a survey of FTCs conducted by National Law University Delhi, it was observed that there is a huge variation in the kinds of cases handled by these courts across States. 
  4. Certain States primarily allocating rape and sexual offense cases to them and other States allocating various other matters.
  5. Several FTCs lacked technological resources to conduct audio and video recordings of the victims and many of them did not have regular staff.
  6. A per data collated from Supreme Court’s ‘Court News’ between 2010 and 2017, in Karnataka, the number of working judges increased between 2012 and 2017 but pendency did not reduce. 

Way ahead

  1. Inadequate staff and IT infrastructure, delay in getting reports from the understaffed forensic science laboratories, frivolous adjournments and over-listing of cases in the cause list are some of the variables.
  2. Identifying systemic issues and addressing the concerns is important for timely disposal of cases
  3. Designating special judges from the current pool of judges would increase substantially the workload of the remaining judges.
  4. For the FTCs to become successful, States will need to take stock of the issues at the ground level. 
  5. States should engage with the principal and senior district judges to get a sense of issues the courts are facing in various districts. 
  6. Attention must be paid to both the metropolitan and far-flung non-metropolitan areas.
  7. Critical issues such as inadequate court staff, improper physical and IT infrastructure and understaffed forensic labs, which affect the day-to-day functioning of the FTCs, must be comprehensively addressed.
Judicial Pendency