In the wake of growing crimes against women, Odisha government on Tuesday, December 10, decided to set up fast-track courts to speed up the hearing of cases pertaining to crime against women and children in the state.
Pratap Jena, Odisha Law Minister said, "We are going to set up 45 fast-track courts exclusively for women and children. Of the 45, as many as 21 fast-track courts will handle the cases in connection with the women’s sexual harassment while around 24 courts will handle sexual offense cases against children under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act."
"All the preparation and work related to the POCSO courts have been done and these 24 courts will be functional in the state very soon," the minister added.
He announced that all the necessary preparations for the other 21 exclusive women courts have also been done and will be functioning soon.
The Odisha law minister’s decision could be attributed to Yogi Adityanath’s government, as the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on December 9 announced to set up as many as 218 new fast-track courts for speedy punishment to offenders in cases of crime against women and children.
The move comes after the Yogi Adityanath government came under fire over the Unnao rape-murder case in which the victim was burnt alive a year after she filed a rape case.
High pendency in rape crimes and the resultant intense public pressure over largescale spike in rapes of girl child/women in State has provoked the government in many states to gear up against such offense.
Earlier in July this year, the government of India planned to set up 1023 fast track courts for sexual offenses against women and children.
Urging for quick disposal of rape cases, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 8, said that he will write to all chief ministers and chief justices of the high courts to complete investigation in cases of rape and those registered under the POCSO Act in two months.
As per the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, there were 1.33 lakh rape cases and 90,205 POCSO cases pending trial at the end of 2016. The conviction rate in cases that went to trial stood at 25.5 percent and 29.6 percent, respectively.
(With inputs from ANI)