EXPRESSING “ANGUISH” at the excessive delay in the disposal of cases in the lower courts, the Supreme Court has asked the authorities concerned to urgently do the needful to ensure speedy disposal of cases lest people lose faith in the judiciary.
“People in India are simply disgusted with the state of affairs, and are fast losing faith in the judiciary because of the inordinate delay in disposal of cases,” the Supreme Court has said.
A bench of Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice Markandey Katju made this observation while disposing of a land dispute that started 50 years ago in Dehradun.
“A suit filed in 1957 has rolled on for half a century,” the court said comparing it with the case of Jarndyce Vs. Jarndyce in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House which had rolled on for decades, consuming litigants and lawyers alike.
The bench set aside the September 6, 1999, order of the Allahabad High Court, which had rejected the restitution of the land under question to the appellant-defendant Rajindera Singh (since dead).
The court said that from the bare facts, it was apparent that the First Appellate Court, which held that the appellant was the Sirdar of the land in question, dismissed the suit against the appellant.
The judgment had been affirmed by the High Court on February 10, 1971 and the order had become final.
In ordinary course, Singh, whose legal heirs fought the case, would have been entitled to possession of the land, the bench said while setting aside the high court’s order.
However, since there was an interim order of status quo passed in another civil suit with regard to the same land, the Supreme Court directed that the possession of the suit land shall be subject to orders passed in those proceedings.