PIL filed in SC to double number of judges in HCs

PIL filed in SC to double number of judges in High Courts and subordinate courts

Plea also asked SC to direct implementation of the judicial charter to decide cases within 3 years and to achieve break-even and dispose of the backlog by 2023

The Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. Credit: Reuters File Photo

 A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre and state governments to take appropriate steps to double the number of judges in the High Courts and subordinate courts.

The pending cases exceeded 30 thousand per million populations. Obviously, it is unrealistic to expect the law courts to deal with this abnormal caseload with present judicial infrastructure, it claimed.

The plea also asked the court to direct implementation of the judicial charter to decide cases within three years and to achieve break-even and dispose of the backlog by 2023.

Petitioner, BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay contended that the Centre on October 25, 2009, promised to reduce pendency of cases from 15 years to three years but it did nothing to implement the recommendations proposed by Law Commission of India in report number 114 (alternative forum for resolution of disputes), report number  116 (formation of Indian judicial service), report number 221 (need for speedy justice), report number 230 (reform in judiciary), report number 45 (arrears and backlog).

"Right to speedy justice is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution. However, the Centre and States have deliberately neglected the importance of speedy justice. They have not provided required judicial infrastructure to clear huge backlog," the plea contended.

It further said that the number of judges per million populations was less than 20. The figure stood at 19.78 in 2018, 17.48 in 2014 and 14.7 in 2002.

"These numbers show how the Indian judiciary is suffering due to low man-power," it pointed out.

It further said around five million cases were pending in High Courts. Out of them, around 10 lakh cases were for over 10 years and two lakh for more than 20 years and around 45,000 for over three decades.

"The gigantic pendency of cases and deliberate inordinate delays are diminishing the faith of people in judiciary. Not only this, it is root-cause of increasing criminalisation. People are taking law in their hands because they are losing faith in judiciary," the plea added.

It further cited an example where a property dispute is pending before Consolidation Officer Jaunpur for 35 years and the victim got more than 400 dates but not the justice.