Courts grappling with negative public perception: CJI

Courts grappling with negative public perception: CJI

The courts in India are grappling with negative perception among the public about their effectiveness. People are under the impression that the courts are not “wholly effective” and that there is “filtered access to justice system”, Chief Justice of India, Justice H L Dattu has said.

Speaking at the inauguration of the two-day 17th Biennial State Level Conference of Judicial Officers hosted by the Karnataka State Judicial Officers’ Association here on Saturday, the CJI said that there might be an element of truth in the matter that there, perhaps, might be a discriminatory application of the law.

“This strikes at the very root of democracy and erodes respect for law among citizens who are at the receiving end of unjust treatment. This is where judiciary has to stand as a strong pillar. If this pillar develops cracks the entire nation will feel its ripples,” he observed.

Pendency of cases referring to the pendency of cases, the CJI felt it was one issue hindering the functioning of judiciary.

Backlog of cases in turn affects fresh cases from being heard in a timely manner. The onus is on the judiciary to set this right, he said.

Nonetheless, there had been a lot of good work done across courts in India and the rate of disposal of cases has seen an increase. But, the rate at which the fresh cases are being filed negates this effort.

Justice Dattu pointed out that most of these cases were premature and frivolous. However, taking into account the right to fair hearing,  courts are forced to entertain these matters. “This is a disease that plagues all courts in India including the Supreme Court. Owing to this, cases needing genuine aid from Court may not get time,” he said, adding that the need of the hour was strong judges who can filter frivolous cases.

On a positive note, as many as 1.25 crore cases were settled in the second National Lok Adalat, reducing the pendency by 11 per cent in a single day.

Around 71.5 lakh matters were settled through amicable settlements, Justice Dattu pointed out.

17.5 lakh cases settled
Karnataka High Court Chief Justice D H Waghela said that Karnataka had the least number of cases that were older than five years, pending in courts. As many as 12.5 lakh cases were disposed of last year.

“Over 17.5 lakh cases were cleared in two Lok Adalats this year itself. Out of these, four lakh cases were those pending from the dockets, he said. The State is also in the top position with regard to computerisation and infrastructure,” he added.

Further, to ensure adequate human resources for effective functioning of courts, the High Court has also been requesting the State government to fill vacant posts including those of first division and second division clerks in courts, Justice Waghela said.

The two-day conference will cover topics such as countering docket explosion, challenges in court management and enhancement of qualitative justice, among others. Karnataka State Judicial Officers’ Association, Bengaluru, launched its website on the occasion.

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