Close on the heels of Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan holding bounced cheque cases responsible for a clogged judiciary, Delhi High Court has sought to know the exact number of such cases pending at its five subordinate courts in the capital.
The court also asked the Delhi government what steps it took towards appointing more magistrates to bring down the backlog. According to rough estimates, out of the 7.67 lakh pending criminal cases in Delhi, bounced cheques account for 5.15 lakh. Of those, 4.28 lakh have been filed by financial institutions.
The chief justice had in December 2008 inaugurated three evening courts that function two hours on all working days to exclusively deal with such cases.
The order by Justice M.C. Garg came in a case where M.S. Dhingra, an elderly citizen, challenged a trial court’s adjournment of his case filed in 2005, to November 2010. The trial was yet to begin, as the court, after issuing notice all accused, was verifying whether one accused was dead or alive.
When Dhingra urged the magistrate to fast-track the proceedings, he was told there were 19,000 such cases pending in just that court. Justice Garg asked the high court’s registrar-general to compile a list of all such pending cases.