Khurshid to launch drive for reducing case backlog

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid is all set to formally launch a drive from Karnataka High Court on Saturday with an aim to free the judiciary of more than 5-year-old cases.

The chief justices of all high courts have been urged to actively participate in the drive between July 1 to December, 2012. There was a net reduction of 6 lakh cases in subordinate courts at the end of year 2011 due to the drive.

In a letter sent to all chief justices of 21 high courts across the country, Khurshid asked them to rid the judicial system of more than 5-year-old cases.

“Khurshid has said that during this campaign we can target to make our judicial system ‘Five Plus’ free by the end of this year as far as possible.  The minister has urged the chief justices that focus on disposal of cases of the marginalised sections of society and under-trials should continue as before.

“He has pointed out that substantial funds are available at the disposal of state governments out of the grants sanctioned under 13th Finance Commission. These can be utilised for creation of special courts and Alternative Disputes Redressal (ADR) centres for achieving the reduction in pendency. Efforts may also be focused during this period on filling of existing vacancies so that augmented availability of manpower at the courts would ensure higher disposal, Shri Khurshid has said in his letter,” an official statement said.

As per the information received from various high courts, there has been a total reduction of 6 lakh cases in subordinate courts at the end of 2011, reversing the earlier trend of increase in pendency by about 5 lakh cases from the end of 2009 to the end of 2010.
“More importantly, there is a significant reduction of over 1.36 lakh pending cases relating to senior citizens, minors, disabled and marginalised sections of the society who are more vulnerable in case of a prolonged litigation,” the statement said.

In case of 21 high courts across the country, there are only 627 judges working against the sanctioned strength of 895 judges as on March 1.

According to information furnished by the government in Rajya Sabha, as many as 60,809 cases were pending in the Supreme Court on April 30. Out of them, 20,872 matters were less than one year old and were not computed in arrears.

The high courts in the country were having backlog of 43,50,868 cases while the subordinate courts had arrears of 2,76,70,417 matters till June 30 last year.  

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