Within five days of Chief Justice of India TS Thakur’s emotional appeal to fill up vacancies to expedite disposal of cases -- Allahabad high court’s judges decided to work in ‘Mission Mode’ and use half of their summer vacations to clear the oldest criminal appeals in Uttar Pradesh.
Allahabad high court Justice DY Chandrachud had mooted an idea to all the judges to cut down by half the summer vacations to hear the criminal appeals of those languishing in jails for over two decades.
After the Allahabad high court’s sesquicentennial celebrations on March 13, 2016 attended by the CJI --Chandrachud had sent letters to all the 79 high court judges requesting them to work during half of their summer vacations to clear the oldest pending cases. Summer vacations are scheduled from June 1, to June 30, 2016.
As of now, 68 of 79 judges of Allahabad high court have favourably responded to the Chandrachud’s letter offering to hold special hearings for disposal of criminal appeals on 15 out of 30 day summer vacations. Sources said remaining judges may also respond favourably.
The CJ has also completed the process of consultations with the bar associations, seeking their cooperation on the issue as he wants to ensure disposal of all the criminal appeals filed before 1986 by the accused languishing in different jails across the state. About 1300 criminal appeals of the accused lodged in jails are still pending.
Much significance is being attached to Chandrachud’s move in the backdrop of Thakur’s appeal made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the annual chief ministers and chief justices conference on Sunday. Thakur asked Modi to fill up vacancies in higher judiciary to bring down the number of pending cases at various levels.
The Allahabad high court has only 79 judges with 81 posts of judges lying vacant against the total sanctioned strength of 160 judges.
About 3 lakh fresh cases are filed in the Allahabad high court and despite higher number of disposals, total number of pending cases was still 9.18 lakh. As the process to fill up the vacancies has been already initiated, the Allahabad high court may soon have additional judges.
At the subordinate judiciary level too, 250 new courts were sanctioned in 2015-2016 while 81 fast track courts have been made permanent. On the directives of the HC’s seven judge bench, headed by Chandrachud, about 500 additional courts have been sanctioned in the state for 2016-2017.