SC forms panel to tackle pending cases across all high courts
The Supreme Court will begin its task with the Allahabad high court which has the highest number pending cases at 9.24 lakh cases. Of these, almost 30% of them are over a decade old.india Updated: Apr 10, 2017 01:03 IST
The Supreme Court has constituted a panel of two senior advocates to reduce the mounting number of pending cases and cut short the discomfiting delay in their disposal by various high courts across the country.
The order appointing senior advocates Shyam Divan and CU Singh was passed last week by a bench of justices J Chelameswar, AM Sapre and AK Roy. The bench wants to proceed state-wise, and as a pilot project has taken up Allahabad high court where 9.24 lakh cases are pending – highest among all the HCs – of which 3.09 lakh cases are over 10 years old. As on June 30, 2016, 40.54 lakh cases were pending in the 24 HCs, which are grappling with 44% shortage of judges.
SC asked the registrar of Allahabad HC to submit particulars of the criminal appeals pending, institution and disposal statistics of last 10 years, average time taken to decide appeals, identified causes for the delay and steps taken to tackle the causes. This information has to be furnished within four weeks. The panel will then scrutinize the data and then outline specific recommendations.
The court issued the directions while it was hearing a bail application of an undertrial in a murder case. The applicant had approached the top court against Allahabad HC’s decision rejecting his plea for release until the court decides his appeal challenging the trial court verdict convicting him in the case.
The petitioner’s lawyer Dushyant Parashar persisted with the court to direct a time-bound hearing in his client’s case because the appeal was pending before the HC for 10 years. Although the bench rejected the bail plea, it ordered the HC to complete hearing his case within four months.
But, in view of the concern expressed by Parashar the bench initiated the unique exercise. The court clarified that selection of the HC was not an indication of any deficiency in its functioning but was an ongoing endeavour on the top court’s part to address the issue.
This is not the first time the SC has taken the task to accelerate the justice delivery system. But, what makes this exercise different is that the top court wants to ascertain court-specific redressal process with the assistance from lawyers.
Undue and unjustified delay in the redressal processes initiated by litigants violates their constitutional secured right to fair and speedy justice, the court noted in its order.