New Delhi: The number of fast track courts has significantly come down to 473 from 1192 in 2011 after the Centre stopped funding for them, the government told Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Law Minister Sadananda Gowda said the 14th Finance Commission has urged states to use the additional fiscal space provided by it in the tax devolution to meet such requirements. He said it is for the state governments to identify the cases which need to be fast-tracked.
The number of fast track courts stood at 1,192 at the end of March 2011 and only 473 FTCs are functional now, he said.
There were 1,562 FTCs at the end of March 31, 2005 while as many as 1,734 such courts were approved in 2000, he said. The Centre had released about Rs 870 crore to state governments for these courts during 11 years up to 2010-11, the minister said, adding that in the last three years, the Centre has not provided funding for them.
"Unfortunately" after the central funding for FTCs stopped, states also reduced the number of such courts, Gowda said.
"A number of states have continued FTCs beyond March 31, 2011 with their own resources," he said.
"However, the central government decided to provide funds up to a maximum of Rs 80 crore per annum on a matching basis up to March 31, 2015 from the 13th Finance Commission award for meeting expenditure on salaries of 10 per cent additional positions of judges being created in subordinate judiciary," following a Supreme Court direction, the Minister said.
The state governments and chief justices of High Courts were requested to utilise these positions for creation of fast track courts also, he added.
The 14th Finance Commission had endorsed establishing 1,800 FTCs for a period of five years.
The government's thinking was to have FTCs as one-time intervention to dispose of huge pendency of cases, the Minister said.