Full Bench Of Allahabad HC Pulls Up State For Vacancies, Infrastructural Deficiencies In District Judiciary; Seeks Timelines
Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday directed the Principal Secretary, Law as well as the Principal Secretaries in the Department of Finance or P.W.D. to remain present before it in order to formulate a time-bound program for the resolution of the issues plaguing the District Judiciary in the State.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice DB Bhosale, Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Yashwant Varma further sought responses from the Chief Secretary of the Government of U.P. demanding a time frame for resolution of the issues.
The Secretary of the UP Public Service Commission was also directed to file detailed reasons for the delay in initiation of the recruitment process for the lower judiciary, as well as the time frame within which the entire recruitment process would be concluded.
The order was issued after the Court took suo motu cognizance of the vacancies in the District Judiciary, highlighting the “apathy and inaction on the part of the State Government in attending to the needs of the judicial system of the State, thus, clearly hampering its functioning and efficiency”.
It then emphasised on the necessity of taking steps to remedy the current state of affairs and observed, “The petition raises issues touching the District Judiciary, which is essentially the place of first refuge and bastion of millions of citizens of this State. The issues raised pertain not just to the infrastructural requirements but also in respect of the appointment of adequate number of Judicial Officers and support staff in order to make justice dispensation effective and responsive. The need of the hour, therefore, is to take urgent steps for augmenting the resources and infrastructure of the judicial system in order to enable the teeming millions to exercise their constitutional rights of access to justice.”
Examining the compilation of statistics indicating the issues being faced by the judicial system by the State, the Court primarily highlighted the following issues:
- The District Judiciary of the State is facing vacancies of 1217 officers across its various cadres.
- 751 courts are yet to be made functional since the minimal infrastructure is yet to be provided by the State Government.
- Courts created in 2012 are not yet functional since land and infrastructure has not been made available.
- The work of under construction courtrooms has been stalled due to lack of funds.
- The District judiciary is facing an immense shortage of accommodation where officers may reside.
- The construction of 422 residences is stalled on account of lack of funds.
- Major projects of the High Court including but not limited to the Jhalwa Project and the Thirty Court Hall building are also held up due to paucity of funds.”
The Court further noted that with regard to the requisition sent by it for recruitment to 610 posts across various cadres in the District judiciary, the Commission has not even initiated the process of recruitment by the issuance of an advertisement. It was orally informed by Mr. MN Singh, appearing for the Commission, that the Commission was yet to receive a requisition from the State Government in this regard.
The Court’s suggestion for undertaking the recruitment process itself and thus, bypassing the Commission was also rejected by the State. In such a scenario, noting that “the dismal state of affairs cannot be left to fester and perpetuate”, the Court issued the following directions:
“(a) The Chief Secretary of the Government of U.P. shall file his personal affidavit in these proceedings dealing with the various issues, which stand highlighted from the records of these proceedings. He shall in his affidavit deal with the various proposals of the Court, which are pending and stand presently held up for reasons duly noticed in the compilation referred to above. The Chief Secretary shall also in his affidavit disclose the time frame within which the State Government proposes to attend to and resolve the issues which stand highlighted therein.
(b) The Secretary of the Commission shall also file his personal affidavit detailing the reasons for the delay in initiation of the recruitment process noted above. Additionally, the Secretary shall also disclose to this Court the time frame within which the Commission proposes to conclude the entire recruitment exercise.
(c) The Principal Secretary, Law together with the Principal Secretaries in the Department of Finance or P.W.D., as may be instructed and decided by the Chief Secretary shall remain present before this Court on the next date of hearing to assist in the formulation of a time-bound program for the resolution of all issues which stand noticed hereinabove. We also direct the Secretary of the Commission to attend to these proceedings in person on the next date fixed.”
The matter will now be heard by the Full Bench on 12 September.