In an unusual move, the Bombay High Court has decided to distribute different categories of public interest litigations amongst different division benches. While sitting lists were usually modified before or after every court vacation, this time PILs are categorized on specific issues and distributed to different benches.
The notice dated November 16 states: It is noticed that in this High Court, the Public Interest Litigations are pending since years together and are piling up. This is against the aim and object of filing Public Interest Litigation to seek immediate remedies on the issues of general public importance. In order to achieve the object of speedy disposal of the PILs, it is found necessary to distribute the Public Interest Litigations amongst various Benches so that they would be disposed of in a reasonable period.
Importantly, a special bench of women judges, Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice Revati Mohite Dere, has been constituted to hear PILs relating to offences against women and rights of women, including any issue related to women. Also, PILs relating to children, their rights and offences against them, any other issue affecting children will be heard by this special bench.
The most alarming number in terms of PIL filed on specific issues was that of the total number of PILs on illegal construction and encroachment on government land. There are a total of 130 such matters currently lodged at the high court. Chief Justice Manjula Chellur will be hearing PILs on this issue.
Twenty such categories of PILs have been identified, comprising 95 subjects, which have been distributed among eight separate division benches.
These distributions do not include PILs that have been specially assigned to specific benches or the ones that have been disposed of but have been kept pending for compliance.