eGovernance in India

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‘Judiciary equally to blame for backlog’

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

‘Judiciary equally to blame for backlog’
30 Nov 2007, 0144 hrs IST,Manoj Mitta ,TNN

NEW DELHI: A close scrutiny of the recent performance report made public by CJI K G Balakrishnan on the status of the judicial system shows that the judiciary itself is not blameless for prolonged vacancies in the judiciary that has heightened the larger problem of delay and arrears in the disposal of cases.

The reports shows the vacancy situation is bad not only in the subordinate judiciary, where the appointments are made by the respective state governments, but also in the high courts, where the superior judiciary calls the shots in the appointment of judges.

Consider the latest available figures cited by CJI himself — out of the sanctioned strength of 792 judges in the 21 high courts across the country, the working strength was 586. This works out to 26% vacancies against sanctioned strength in the high courts. Out of the sanctioned strength of 15,399 subordinate judges in the country, the working strength was 12,368 — with vacancies accounting for 20% in the subordinate judiciary.

In other words, while in absolute terms, a larger number of judges have to be appointed in the lower courts, a higher percentage of posts of judges are lying vacant in the high courts. Justice Balakrishnan also gave the data on the manner in which the arrears had gone up over seven years at the two levels of the judiciary. He ended up showing that the rate of increase in the arrears was more in the high courts than in the subordinate courts.

According to the CJI’s report, the arrears increased in the high courts from 27.5 lakh cases in 1999 to 36.5 lakh cases in 2006. In the subordinate courts, the arrears increased over the same seven-year period from 2 crore cases to 2.48 crore cases.

Thus, the arrears grew by 33% in the high courts while they grew by 24% in the subordinate courts.

So while the CJI made a case against the executive, facts would show that both the government and the judiciary are to blame. Obfuscating the distinction in the systems of appointment to the subordinate judiciary and the high courts, Justice Balakrishnan claimed: “That takes us to the selection and appointment process where the government has a greater role than the judiciary.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Judiciary_equally_to_blame_for_backlog/articleshow/2583272.cms

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