During the celebration of 150 years of the Allahabad High Court, Chief Justice J S Khehar today raised the issue of pendency of cases in courts, including in the Supreme Court, and the shortage of judges, and said he was taking steps to reduce the burden on the judiciary.
The CJI asked the judges to consider sitting in courts for five days during vacation to clear at least 10 cases each day and bring down the pendency.
The Supreme Court judges have already set an example for the High Courts and subordinate court judges. It already has expressed readiness to hear a whopping and unprecedented 5,298 cases which figure in its notice for advance Regular Hearing Matters List’ for summer vacation of the court from 5th May, 2017 to 2nd July 2017. These are apart from the three constitution benches that will sit during the same time to hear grapple with complex issues such as the legality of triple talaq and the right to dignity of Muslim women, WhatsApp's implications on citizen's right to privacy and the vexed citizenship tangle in Assam.
“This way thousands of small matters like matrimonial disputes and mediation cases can be settled and arrears of cases brought down”, the CJI said and referred to a system of court management under which pendency of cases in Malaysia had been brought down to one-fifth.
He said three constitution benches will sit during this summer vacation to help reduce the arrears in the apex court. J
He also said video-conferencing should be used for deposition made in courts by undertrials, witnesses and officials to prevent wastage of time and money. So many precious hours of officials, which should have been spent doing administrative tasks, get used up in travelling to far-off places to appear in courts.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also advocated the use of technology for speedy delivery of justice and assured Khehar that the government will make all efforts to back his resolve to reduce pendency of cases.
He also asked startups to come up with innovations that could aid the judicial system to dispose of cases expeditiously. The government wants that the judicial system of our country makes full use of information and communication technology. This should be given priority, he said, noting, This can help save a lot of time and money.
Modi said, “I assure the chief justice that government will back his 'sankalp' (resolve) to bring down the burden on the judiciary and reduce pendency of cases”.
COMMITTED TO JUDICIARY’S INDEPENDENCE : LAW MINISTER
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the gathering the government is committed to complete independence of the judiciary. He asked lawyers to volunteer to help the poor get access to justice and highlighted the steps being taken by the Centre to reduce pendency, including minimising litigation by the State and meeting the long-standing demand of filling up vacant posts of judges. The Prime Minister has said that the government is committed to independence of the judiciary and that it should be complete, he said. He said that to reduce arrears in courts, the government is setting up 'sahayata kendras' (facilitation centres) that would be devoted to speedy disposal of such cases as may have been pending for 10 years or more.