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The strength of HC judges to be increased

For speedy disposal of cases, the judiciary will resort to not only increasing the strength of courts and judges, but will adapt to new technology, reports Urvi Mahajani.
Hindustan Times | By Urvi Mahajani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 22, 2007 07:15 PM IST

For speedy disposal of cases, the judiciary will resort to not only increasing the strength of courts and judges, but will adapt to new technology. The aim is faster Justice and also Justice at the remotest village.

The judges and the judiciary face the rebuke for not disposing off cases faster, but no one sees the facilities provided to them. This was expressed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) while inaugurating 'Judges’ lounge cum conference hall” at the annex building of the HC on Sunday.

“I have prepared a chart requesting the increase in number of judges for all the high courts and forwarded it to the Union government. Besides, we also need more funds for setting up courts,” said CJI. He also said that the e-mail technology would be made use of by the courts for speeding up the process. “Within few months we will serve copies of summons, which are required to be sent to other states, by e-mail to the concerned magistrate’s court. The magistrate will then initiate the process from his end to serve summons to the concerned person. This will cut down the preliminary stage of hearings from 15-20 days to 3-4 days,” added CJI.

On the lighter side, the CJI pointed out that all the Chief Ministers of States in India should allocate more funds for increasing the strength and for setting up more courts. “Before any legislation is passed, the government must study its impact. Many of the legislations passed by the governments generate large number of litigation in all the courts across India,” while looking at Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was also present at the function.

From his side, Deshmukh assured CJI that his government was doing all that they could for providing better facilities to the judiciary. “In 2005-06 the government had sanctioned additional Rs 28 crore for computerization of all courts, even at the taluka level. Last year, Rs 18.32 crore was granted for the functioning of fast-track courts alone. This year, the cabinet has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for fast-track courts,” said Deshmukh. Considering the Union government is responsible for fully funding the fast-track courts, Deshmukh was quick to request the Union Minister for Law, Hansraj Bhardwaj, for reimbursement of the money. "We will do everything for this justice system to reach to the downtrodden," he said.

“I will give what is provided by the Constitution, how it is spent is the responsibility of the government,” countered Bhardwaj adding that, “the ‘handsome minister’ (Deshmukh) should keep smiling and not look at his pockets.”

Bhardwaj, however, promised that the Union government will be giving 100 per cent grant for the e-governance and said that within 3 years all the court across India will be e-connected to Supreme Court.

Chief Justice (CJ) of the Bombay High Court Swatanter Kumar said that the blueprint for setting up a atleast one court in every district and taluka was ready. “Of the 357 talukas in Maharashtra, only 74 talukas have court. By the end of this year courts will be established in another 53 talukas,” said CJ.

Despite the HC being in existence since over 150 years, it has never had a conference room. Exactly 100 years after freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadahar Tilak was sentenced to kala pani by the then HC judge, the judges lounge came to be inaugurated, remarked CJ.

The State has sanctioned the High Court's proposal for creation of 350 new posts of judges in lower courts. "In the first phase 175 posts shall be added in this financial year, while the remaining 175 posts in the next financial year," he said.

CJ has also requested that the strength of the HC be increased to 75 from the existing 64 despite a requirement of 186.

The Chief Justice commended the fast disposal of cases in not only Mumbai and Aurangabad benches of the High Court, but also by the subordinate courts. While the Aurangabad bench dealt with 1,471 cases with a disposal rate of 62 per cent, the Bombay bench dealt with 2,350 cases with a disposal rate of 57 per cent. The subordinate courts have disposed 2,09,818 cases till May 31.

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