At present every magistrate handles more than 5,000 cases. We require additional 300 judges to clear the existing backlog alone. Even if we get judges from outside, there is no space or infrastructure.”
The Bombay High Court said while hearing a petition filed by a Bandra resident seeking a solution to deal with the problem of inordinate delay in petty offence cases.
The petitioner, Anil Gidwani (51), suggested that the increasing backlog in petty offences like parking violations could be disposed of faster through plea bargaining system (person accepting that he is guilty and paying the penalty).
He also suggested that citizens should be made aware about the procedures of courts and also where they could lodge a complaint against a magistrate. Gidwani added that there should be award and punishment system for judicial officers too.
Citing the example of extradited gangster Abu Salem’s nephew, who had hurled a slipper at magistrate in January 2009, as his case was adjourned thrice because the witness did not turn up, Gidwani said: “The underlying rage among litigants has reached a boiling point. And some soul searching within judiciary is required to be done.”
He has sought a time frame within which magistrates must dispose of cases.
However, the HC observed that it would be unwise to set a time frame for cases. “More often, even the litigants or their lawyers seek for adjournment on various grounds. You can’t blame the judge alone in such a case for adjourning matters,” remarked Justice F.I. Rebello.
Gidwani, a software engineer, suggested that Data Mining Techniques could be formed in which all cases could be analysed to find out where is the bottleneck and accordingly a solution could be found.
Gidwani is facing court proceedings for three years for refusing to pay fine for parking his vehicle at a no-parking zone in south Mumbai.