India Education Diary
Bhubaneswar: BJD leader and Lok Sabha member from Kendrapada Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, has urged prime minister Manmohan Singh to set up fast-track cases of crimes against women and those involving criminal charges against elected representatives.
In a letter, Panda has highlight the deep rooted flaws in our judicial system that have been brought into focus after the incident of gang-rape and brutal assault leading to the death of a young woman in Delhi. 
He said that the incident brought to light the regressive attitudes in society, the efficacy of the police and most importantly the over worked judiciary.
He also said that the judges per million population in India stands at 13, compared to 100 in developed countries. 
Despite the Law Commission’s recommendation in 1987 to raise it immediately to 50, and to 100 by the year 2000, it still remains abysmally low, he said, adding that more than 30 million cases remain pending at all levels of the judiciary, about three million of them for over a decade.
The system of fast-track courts that was first set up based on the recommendations of the 11th Finance Commission worked efficiently and disposed of 85% of the cases assigned to them. 
However, despite their success the Centre withdrew its support to the scheme and left their continuance to the limited resources of the state governments, Panda said, adding that given the shortage of funds with states, most courts were discontinued. 
Given the prevailing conditions under which the judiciary functions, Panda said that that there is an urgent need to increase the number of judges in courts and provide them with the requisite infrastructure and fast-track procedures that facilitate timely justice. 
The focus of the fast track courts must be on criminalisation of politics and widespread crimes against women, he pointed out.
A report of the Association of Democratic Reforms states that 76 of the 543 members elected to Lok Sabha in 2009 had been charged with serious criminal charges. 
According to Panda, there is an urgent need to break this criminal-political nexus. This can be facilitated if criminal cases against elected representatives are expeditiously disposed.
The recently released Justice Verma committee report also stresses that the real problem is implementation. It reiterates the need for speedy justice to ensure efficacy of the law.
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