| SC extends life of fast
track courts for a month
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the wisdom behind
the Centre’s decision to wind up at least 1,734 fast track (FTC) courts
by March 31 for want of funds, and extended their life for a month
— till April 30, 2005.
“Look at the chaos that would result from the winding up of the FTCs;
the cases have to be reheard, the judges have to be readjusted and
a long delay in the adjudication of the cases,’’ a Bench of Justices
S B Sinha and S H Kapadia said while taking a serious view of the
non-allocation of funds by the 12th Finance Commission for continuance
of the FTCs.
The 11th Finance Commission had given a grant of Rs 509 crore for
setting up of the 1,734 FTCs, which were to continue till March 31,
When the Bench indicated that it would ask the Centre not to disturb
the FTCs, an additional adjudication forum created by the then Union
law minister Arun Jaitley to speedily clear the huge backlog of cases,
solicitor-general Goolam E Vahanvati said the matter be left to the
government, which had the prerogative of making budgetary provisions.
The Bench said: “The apex court has been monitoring the functioning
of the FTCs as the Centre has repeatedly assured it that not only
the existing FTCs would be continued for another five years, but efforts
would be made to establish additional FTCs.
“We are anxious that the FTCs should continue as the consequences
of winding them up are grave,’’ the Bench observed.
TOI had on Tuesday quoted Union law minister H R Bhardwaj as saying
that the Centre did not have the funds to run FTCs beyond March 31.
The minister had also found fault with the way funding of these courts
was conceived during NDA rule.
On Wednesday, Vahanvati said Bhardwaj was personally in favour of
the FTCs continuing. But despite a presentation made by the law ministry
before the 12th Finance Commission, no recommendation was made for
allocation of funds for the continuance of these courts.
The Bench wanted to know whether the matter was included in the reference
made by the Union government to the Finance Commission.