Reforms to tackle pending cases in High Courts and Supreme Court


As per latest available information, 57,179 cases were pending in the Supreme Court of India as on 30.6.11. The number of cases pending in the High Courts were 42,17,903 as on 30.9.2010. Giving his information in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Law & Justice informed the House that in order to facilitate expeditious disposal of cases in courts, Government has taken a number of measures as mentioned below:

I.             The Government has approved setting up of ‘National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms’. The major goals are:
·               Increasing access by reducing delays and arrears in the system;
·               Enhancing accountability through structural  changes and by setting performance standards and capacities.
               A Mission Mode approach to infrastructure development of subordinate judiciary is among the major initiatives under the National Mission for Justice Delivery which is approved by the Government. Inadequacy of infrastructure in subordinate courts has been one of the bottlenecks in the speedy delivery of justice. Keeping this in mind in the financial year 2011-12, the allocation for the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for infrastructure development has been increased fivefold from Rs. 100 Cr to Rs. 500 Cr. Funding pattern has also been increased from 50:50 to 75:25 for the states  and to continue 90:10 for the NE states.

II.           The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission to provide a grant of Rs. 5000 crore to the States for improving the justice delivery system in the country over a five year period 2010-15. A grant of Rs. 1,000 crore has already been released to the States during the year 2010-11. With the help of these grants, the States can, inter-alia, set up morning / evening / shift / special magistrates’ courts, appoint court managers, establish ADR centres and provide training to mediators / conciliators, organise more Lok Adalats to reduce pendency. The grants also provide for training of judicial officers, strengthening of State Judicial Academies, training of public prosecutors and maintenance of heritage court buildings.

III.          In order to computerise the justice delivery system Government is  implementing e-Courts Project for the District and Subordinate Courts in the country  and up gradation  of ICT infrastructure in superior courts at an estimated cost of Rs. 935 crore. The target is to computerize 12,000 courts by 31st March, 2012 and 14,249 courts by 31st March, 2014. Court Management and case management can be done through National Arrears Grid created under the project.

IV.          The Thirteenth Finance Commission while recommending a grant of Rs. 5000 crore made a condition for release of 2nd year instalment only after formulating State Litigation policy. State Litigation policy is to be formulated with the aim to transform government into an efficient and responsible litigant. If the cases involving government are reduced then the courts will have time to dispose of a large number of cases to achieve the target of reducing the pendency.

V.           Enactment of the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 which provides for establishment of Gram Nyayalayas to improve access to justice to marginalised. The current year allocation has been increased from Rs. 40 crore to Rs. 150 crore. So far 151 Gram Nyayalayas have been notified by the states.

VI.          All the Chief Justices of High Courts have been requested to launch a campaign to reduce pendency of cases in court from July-December, 2011 and also for filling up vacancies of judges in the High Courts and Subordinate Courts during the same period. Vacancies and delays are inevitably correlated, hence a campaign mode approach for filling vacancies need to be launched. At least 50% of the vacancies could be filled up in respect of subordinate courts by December 2011.

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