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Punjab on Friday joined the group of states who have committed to the fast-track courts (FTCs). The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The state has earmarked seven courts to deal with rape and POCSO cases. Four courts will exclusively deal with rape cases while three courts will deal with POCSO cases. The measures are in line with the Chief Minister’s commitment to ensure safety for women and children in the state, agencies reported.

“The Cabinet has approved setting up of seven fast-track courts, with the creation of 70 posts to manage them, for dealing exclusively with the rape cases. Four of these courts will be set up in Ludhiana and one each at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ferozepur. Seven additional posts of additional and district sessions judges along with 63 supporting staff have been approved by the Cabinet,” the agencies quoted an official spokesperson saying.

It may be noted along with Punjab along with Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Assam, Goa, Kerala and Andhra had committed to the setting up of FTCs. While a majority of the states have turned a blind idea to the proposal and ironically, the most of them are those ruled by the BJP whose government at the centre mooted the proposals for FTCs.

As per latest information, Odisha has proposed the setting up of 45 FTCs, Delhi 18, Goa 3. Kerala, the state with the highest per-capita rape rate have proposed 57 while Uttar Pradesh has proposed maximum number of FTCs at 218.

The Centre on July 18 last year had announced the setting up of 1,023 FTCs to clear all pending rape and POCSO cases. The Centre took the decision in the wake of alarming increase in the number of cases across the country, especially of girls aged 12 and below.

—India Legal Bureau

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