eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Govt needs to invest in infrastructure of courts

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

Govt needs to invest in infrastructure of courts
30 Nov 2007, 0147 hrs IST,Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan has worked out a figure of additional judges that would be required to clear the judicial backlog. According to him, if 1,539 new judges were added to the existing 792, all pending cases in high courts would be cleared in a year. And if they are to be cleared in two years, 770 additional high court judges would be sufficient.

Likewise, the Chief Justice has calculated that if all pending cases in the lower courts were to be cleared in one year, all existing 15,399 posts must be filled up and an additional 18,479 judges should be appointed. If the backlog were to be cleared in two years, 9,239 additional judges would be required.

Would this involve an unacceptably high cost? Certainly not. In the model worked out by TOI , the cost is just Rs 1,426 crore but at existing levels of salary, it is a meagre Rs 180 crore if Rs 15,000 is taken as the average salary and 10,000 new judges are appointed.

The government has to invest more in the infrastructure of courts. Most of them, especially the lower courts, are in a shambles. The buildings need repair and expansion. The courts need to be fully computerized so that old files don’t eat into half the court space. Also, court rooms should be air-conditioned to increase efficiency in extreme weather conditions.

Who is responsible for filling up vacant posts? Actually, both the superior judiciary, and the state and central governments. For the lower courts, it is the government. And for the high courts, it is a collegium of judges headed by the Chief Justice which forwards the name of the new judge for ratification by the law ministry and the PMO.

Law minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj was quick to point out that “not a single file regarding appointment of judges to the high courts is pending with the government.” In other words, the collegium has been tardy in recommending judges for the high courts. Justice Balakrishnan has said, “The backlog cannot be wiped out without additional strength, particularly when new filings are likely to increase and not come down in the coming years.”


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