The sanctioned strength of judges in the Punjab and Haryana high court will increase by 17 (25%) to reach the 85 mark from the existing 68 for efficacious and speedy justice.
Union law minister Kapil Sibal has shot a demi-official letter to chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, seeking a proposal on the requirement of additional courtrooms, support staff and accommodation for the enhanced strength of judges. The communication mentions that the decision is based on the review of judges’ strength vis-à-vis the backlog and expected new cases.
The objective is to bring down the pendency of cases fast. The concurrence for 25% increase in the strength has been taken from Chief Justice of India Palanisamy Sathasivam, the law minister has written. The law ministry has also written to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, about the decision.
The union ministry expects both CMs to make required budgetary provisions and give concurrence to making arrangements for mandatory facilities, for which they are duty bound. The communication also has reference to last April’s resolution adopted in a conference that the CJs and CMs had attended to highlight the need for more judges.
The high court confirmed it had ample infrastructure to accommodate more judges but before replying to the union law minister would await the response from both states.
Five years, 50% expansion
In the CJs’ conference in New Delhi on April 5 and 6 last year, it was decided that in the next five years, the strength of judges in all high courts be expanded by 50% to make up for the past failure to expand. Of this, 25% expansion was to be achieved by 2016, based on the judge-case ratio.
Third biggest high court
The Punjab and Haryana high court is third biggest after Allahabad and Bombay, which have a sanctioned strength of 160 and 75 judges, respectively. Against a sanctioned strength of 68, it has only 47 judges and awaits clearance from the Supreme Court to elevate six advocates and three district and sessions judges to bolster its numbers.