Govt faces Supreme Court ire over pendency
DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said pendency of 3 crore cases could not be effectively dealt with unless the government created more courts and filled vacancies because annual disposal of cases by trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court only matched the numbers filed every year, leaving the backlog untouched.
If a bench of Justices A K Ganguly and T S Thakur questioned additional solicitor general Harin Raval on the Centre‘s policy decisions on judicial reforms including speeding up of justice delivery, another bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar was critical of the UPA government’s decision to scrap fast-track courts.
The bench of Justices Ganguly and Thakur accepted Raval’s contention that it would be a mismatch if the government was asked to create more posts of judges when a large number of such posts was lying vacant.
But it wanted to know from the ASG whether any of the policy decisions intended to create more courts in view of a finding that the country would require 75,000 more trial judges in the next three decades.
It asked the Centre to refer to the Law Commission, which is doing a comprehensive study in this regard, to include in its terms of reference the need for increasing the number of courts and ways and means to deal with the vacancy problem.
On the other hand, amicus curiae and senior advocate P S Narasimha drew the attention of a bench of Justices Patnaik and Kumar to the scrapping of fast-track courts from March 31, 2011.
The bench said during the All India Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, there was unanimity that FTCs had played a constructive role in reducing arrears and should be continued.
It looked into the law ministry’s file relating to discontinuation of these courts and found that a decision had been taken to run morning and evening courts in place of fast-track courts. Narasimha said whenever there was an attempt to hinder speedy justice, constitutional courts had inherent power to take necessary corrective measures to ensure financial grants to sustain existing justice delivery system. The bench reserved verdict on the issue.