SC extends life of 1,734 fast track courts

New Delhi, March 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2005, 05:30am hrs
The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the life of 1,734 fast track courts (FTCs) across the country till April 30. FTCs are on the verge of closure on account of non-allocation of funds by the 12th Finance Commission. The courts were supposed to continue till March 31.

The interim order was issued by a bench comprising Justice SB Sinha and Justice SH Kapadia who took serious view of the Centres indirect decision of not providing any financial grant beyond March 31 for continuance of FTCs.

The 11th Finance Commission had given a grant of Rs 503 crore for setting up of 1,734 FTCs.

In another writ petition filed by Chennai-based All Medial Journalists Association seeking continuance of the FTCs till 2010, the bench issued notices to the Centre and states and placed the entire matter for hearing before a three-judge bench.

When the bench indicated that it would direct continuance of FTCs, solicitor general GE Vahanvati suggested that the matter should be left to the government as making budgetary provisions was the sole prerogative of the government.

According to the apex court, it had been monitoring the functioning of the FTCs and the Centre not only had repeatedly assured the continuation of the existing FTCs for another five years, but also establishing of additional FTCs.

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, the bench said.