With 1.1 mn pending cases, Punjab and Haryana court moves for speedier trials

April 22nd, 2008 - 10:00 am ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, April 22 (IANS) With the number of pending cases swelling to more than 1.1 million, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has decided to have speedier trials to dispose of long-pending ones. As a first step, the high court wants cases over 20 years old disposed of. “Cases which were over 20 years old have been disposed of already. We have put the pending cases in categories of 20 years, 10 years and five years respectively,” Chief Justice Vijender Jain said.

The court is now targeting over 1,700 cases that have been pending for over 10 years. Punjab accounts for over 1,000 such cases followed by 400 of Haryana and 300 of the union territory of Chandigarh.

“Cases beyond 10 years old that are lying before various courts will be disposed of on priority by Dec 31 this year. Of the cases pending for over five years, 35 percent have been disposed of. However, the quality of justice should not be compromised while speedily disposing of cases,” Jain said.

The high court’s message for speedy disposal of long-pending cases was communicated to judicial officials from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh at their first-ever conclave held at Panchkula near here Sunday.

The chief justice has acknowledged that over 561,000 cases were pending in various courts across Punjab and 549,000 in Haryana.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, situated in this joint capital of the two states, is perhaps the only unique joint high court of two states in the country. The court’s strength of judges has been increased to 68 now from 53.

Haryana has been demanding a separate high court, which the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government is pursuing with the central government more effectively. But the central government has so far turned down the demand, saying the present arrangement could continue.

One of the reasons for the rejection could be that despite demanding a separate high court, the Haryana government wants it to be headquartered in Chandigarh instead of in a more central location in Haryana. Chandigarh is located in one corner of Haryana and most litigants find it difficult to come here every time for case hearings.

Haryana became the first state in the country last year to have a mobile court. It was set up in a remote area of Mewat district in the southern part of the state. Punjab followed, setting up the country’s second mobile court in Hoshiarpur district’s Talwara area a few months later.

The mobile courts have been effective in both the states, Justice Jain said.

“About 1,100 cases were disposed of in Haryana since the mobile court was set up there. In Punjab, the total disposal of cases is almost the same, despite being started two months later,” he pointed out.

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