Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called upon the judiciary to facilitate early disposal of long-pending cases so as to serve the cause of justice and bring relief to those affected by the delay in disposal of such cases.
“Can the courts each year bring out a bulletin identifying the case pending in it for the longest period of time. If each one does so, it will usher in greater sensitivity to the delays and create the right atmosphere for the disposal of pending cases, the PM said. He was the chief guest at a function to mark the closing of the year-long centenary celebration of the Patna HC, which had its first formal sitting in 1916. The centenary celebrations had been inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee on April 18 last year.
“The challenge is to infuse a new life into our (judicial) institutions, using the 100 years’ experience of this court”, Modi said. He also called upon the bar and the bench to become more techno-savvy so as to expedite the judicial processes, an advice that was dispensed by the President as well last year.
“This will lead to a great change”, the PM said. He, however, did not respond to an issue raised at the function by his preceding speakers CJI TS Thakur and Patna HC acting chief justice Iqbal Ahmad Ansari. Each had spoken of a need to fill the high number of vacant posts of judges.
The CJI, in his speech, had pointed out that 468 of around 900 posts of HC judges were vacant across the country, causing difficulties in timely disposal of cases. “Almost no new appointment has been made in the past 18 months owing to a pending litigation that has been resolved recently,” Justice Thakur said.
“However, in the past two months, 150 judges have been cleared for appointment (by the SC collegium),” he said. The CJI stated there were “delays at the administrative level” in the clearance for appointment. He expressed hope that the PM would look into the matter. In his welcome address, CJ Ansari urged the PM and CJI to expedite the appointment of judges against 14 vacancies in the Patna HC to serve the purpose of timely dispensation of justice.