Delhi cabinet nod for 22 commercial courts and 18 permanent fast-track courts
The Delhi cabinet Friday approved two separate proposals for establishing 22 commercial courts and 18 permanent fast-track courts in the city, senior government officials said. The proposals were cleared in adherence to a Delhi high court direction earlier this year.
The government also gave its nod to create 212 posts in Delhi Higher Judicial Services, including 22 posts for judges, for the 22 commercial courts. In the case of fast-track courts, the government will convert 90% of existing ad-hoc (temporary) posts into permanent ones and thereby establish 18 fast-track courts that will be permanent in nature, senior government officials said.
The first approval will lead to the establishment of 22 commercial courts, which deal with trials related to commercial disputes, a senior government official said.
When it comes to fast-track courts, Delhi already has 20 of them, all set up in 2005, but they operate entirely with ad-hoc staff .
An official in the chief minister’s office said, “The Union ministry of home affairs, in fiscal 2003-04, had released funds to the Delhi government for setting up 20 fast-track courts for a period of five years. After that, no more fund was allocated in the subsequent years. Hence, all fast-track courts operated with ad-hoc staff whose contracts are renewed every year.”
He further said converting 90% of those ad-hoc positions into permanent ones would amount to having 18 permanent functional fast-track courts.
The Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that cases of rape and incidents of sexual offences against minors under the POCSO Act should be decided in two months after the filing of the charge sheet. Such trials necessitate the existence of fast-track courts, officials said.
Taking note of the pendency of sexual assault and business dispute cases, the Delhi high court, in January, had directed the Delhi government to place before the cabinet the requirement for 18 permanent fast-track courts and 22 commercial courts. While issuing the order, the court had also noted that the matter had been in the pipeline since 2017.
In December 2012, days after the 2016 Delhi gang-rape incident, the Supreme Court had taken note of the ad-hoc functioning of fast-track courts in the national capital and directed the Delhi government to either make them permanent or discontinue them.