Monday, August 27, 2007

Larger Bench to hear plea on backlog of cases

Larger Bench to hear plea on backlog of cases

Legal Correspondent

Apex court moved seeking establishment of sufficient number of courts


Sitting judges are overburdened, says petition

About 1.45 crore cases are filed every year


New Delhi: Apprehending that the huge backlog of cases may result in a breakdown of the justice delivery system, the Supreme Court has been moved seeking a direction to the Centre and the States to establish sufficient number of courts so that the arrears could be totally wiped out.

A Bench consisting of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice H.S. Bedi on Friday directed that the petition be placed before Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan for posting it before a larger Bench since important questions of law of public importance were involved in it.

The Supreme Court is monitoring the implementation of the fast track courts in the country and has appointed advocate P.S. Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist the court.

When the matter came up for hearing, he filed an application raising various issues and pleaded that it be taken up immediately.

Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati said that since serious questions were raised in the application, it could be treated as a separate petition and heard by a larger bench. Accordingly the Bench referred the matter for hearing by a larger Bench.

The petition said “the sitting judges are overburdened that it is impossible to expect any expeditious hearing of a case.

The very purpose of judicial adjudication is completely lost by the time the case comes up for hearing. The consequence of this breakdown in the system is far reaching; it leads to loss of confidence in the justice delivery system leading to erosion of the rule of law. Not establishing sufficient number of courts has the serious effect of not only violating the Fundamental Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution but it also affects the very basis of democracy.”

It said every year about 1.35 crores of cases were disposed of by the subordinate judiciary.

The real problem was that while old cases were disposed of, fresh filing of about 1.45 crore cases every year resulted in a backlog.

It said that the meagre allocation of funds for the judiciary, viz. 0.071 per cent in the Ninth Plan and 0.078 per cent in the 10th Plan, was affecting the functioning of the judiciary, particularly in increasing the number of courts to clear the backlog of cases.

Direction sought

The petition sought a direction to the Centre and the States to determine the number of courts required for expeditious adjudication of pending cases and to direct them to allocate sufficient funds for establishment of sufficient number of courts.

© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

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THE HINDU

http://www.thehindu.com/2007/08/27/stories/2007082760761300.htm

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