As more than three crore cases await adjudication in various courts across the country, Chief Justice of India HL Dattu on Sunday said pendency was a complex problem which cannot be solved by the judiciary alone.
“The issue of pendency receives a lot of attention in the national press. Only when we closely examine the nature of the problem will we realise its complexity. It requires efforts on multiple fronts from multiple agencies to effectively address this issue,” the CJI said.
“For example, pendency in criminal cases requires judicial reforms just as much as it requires drastic changes in the administration of the police, prosecuting agencies, prisons and legal aid.” the CJI said addressing a conference of Chief Justices of High Courts and Chief Ministers.
“Above all, it requires tremendous investment in developing appropriate infrastructure for the judiciary, police, prosecution agencies etc.,” he said in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda.
Later, he held a joint conference with Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda to announce that it has been a resolved to dispose of all pending criminal and civil cases in trial courts in five years.
Maintaining that the Judiciary was best placed to understand its needs and the problem that affected the administration of justice, the CJI said while deciding budgetary questions, there must be an effective mechanism to factor the inputs of the judiciary.
“Of course, the final budgetary allocation is the prerogative of the Executive. However, once the allocation is made, we all believe that the time has come to seriously engage on the issues of financial autonomy for the judiciary. There must be effective release of funds to the high courts by the respective state governments...”
He said, “Within the allocated budget, the judiciary must have sufficient autonomy to re-appropriate expenditure under the decided heads of expenditure. This will go a long way in assisting the judiciary in taking effective steps in developing judicial infrastructure.”
“We should look to move beyond a situation where the high courts must repeatedly go to the Governments for expenditure that is already budgeted and allocated,” the CJI noted.