Judiciary pitches for increased judges’ strength

April 17th, 2008 - 5:07 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The Indian judiciary Thursday made a strong pitch for raising the number of judges in trial courts and high courts all over the country to fight the malady of huge backlog of cases numbering over 29 million. The demand for increasing the judges’ strength was made in the agenda note for the ongoing two-day’s annual judges meet, being held to deliberate upon various issues pertaining to legal reforms.

The meet approved of the agenda note for increasing the judges’ strength in the country, an apex court official attending the conference told IANS.

Inaugurated Thursday by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, the conference is being chaired by the apex court’s two senior most judges, Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice Ashok Bhan. The meet is being attended by almost all apex court judges, besides the Chief Justices of various high courts across the country.

Quoting official data, the agenda note for the judges’ meet said a total of over 25.33 million cases were pending in trial courts, while the number of cases pending in high courts across the country stood at 3.7 million at the end of December 2007.

Pointing to the huge deficiency in number of judges at various courts, the note said that “against a sanctioned strength of 877 judges at high courts, there are only 593 judges working there by January 2008, leaving a huge vacancy of 284 judges.”

“Similarly, against a sanctioned strength of 15,917 trial court judges, there are only 12,524 judges available to man the trial courts. This leaves a huge shortfall of 3,393 judges as on December 31, 2007,” the note added.

Pointing out that all the high courts judges together disposed a total of 1,505,073 cases and trial court judges a total of 14,797,506 cases in 2007, the agenda note also worked out the average disposal rate by the high court and trial court judges.

It said, “The average disposal per judge comes to 2,538 cases in high courts and 1,182 cases in subordinate Courts, if calculated on the basis of disposal in the year 2007 and working strength of judges as on December 31, 2007.”

“Applying this average, we require 1,475 high court judges and 21,432 subordinate court judges only to clear backlog in one year. The requirement would come down to 737 high court judges and 10,716 trial court judges if the arrears alone have to be cleared in the next two years,” the note said.

“The existing strength being inadequate even to dispose of the new cases, the backlog cannot be wiped out without additional strength, particularly, when the institution of cases is likely to increase and not come down in coming years,” the note added.

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