After finding no positive response from the Chandigarh administration on filling up the posts for judicial officers' in Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday impleaded secretary, union ministry of law and justice as party in the case and sought his reply.
The directions came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih during the resumed hearing of a case in which the high court had taken suo-motu notice of the lacklustre approach of the Chandigarh administration in taking steps to fill up the posts of judges in Chandigarh district courts.
Granting three weeks' time to the centre government to respond on the issue, the court directed the Chandigarh administration to take up the matter with the union ministry of law and justice with promptitude.
As of now there are a total number of 20 judicial officers in Chandigarh district courts that include one district and sessions judge, five additional district and sessions judges, one chief judicial magistrate, two civil judges(senior division) and 11 civil judges (junior division).
Shortage of judges and staff
On Wednesday, a resident of Sector-21, Chandigarh, Rawinder Kaur Gill, 82, also filed an application seeking permission to intervene in the case that was allowed by the court.
Narrating her personal experience of the Chandigarh district courts in a case relating to her tenant eviction, Gill informed the high court that delay in disposal of cases in Chandigarh district courts was mainly due to shortage of judges and other subordinate staff.
She submitted that the existing staff was overburdened to the extent that they even had to work after office hours.
Citing the data available on the Supreme Court website for the period ending March 31, 2012, Gill informed the court that Chandigarh district court was at third number in the country among the overburdened courts after Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh district courts.
As per data, the number of cases allocated per judge per month comes to 2,894 in Chandigarh.
Gill also added that her experience showed that many times witnesses were returned without being examined as there were no stenographers to record the statements and sometimes even the judicial officers were themselves noting down the statements of these witnesses.
She also informed that the district and sessions judge, Chandigarh had requested the Chandigarh administration to provide 125 extra posts of clerks' way back in 2006 but till date not even a single additional post had been created.