Supreme Sacrifice for Speedy Justice
By Kanu Sarda - NEW DELHI
Published: 29th Dec 2013 08:21:06 AM
In a step towards creating a speedy justice delivery system, 2014 will see the Supreme Court of India working more than in 2013.
In a bid to lessen the pendency of cases that has already crossed the mark of three crores, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam has cut down the number of holidays of the Supreme Court from 2014 onwards.
As per the Supreme Court’s calendar for 2014, of the 365 days, the court will work for nearly 200 days whereas in 2013, the court worked for nearly 176 days and 189 days were holidays which included roughly 104 Saturdays and Sundays, and nearly two-and-a-half months of summer vacations.
The British legacy of a nearly two-month-long summer vacation is still a continuing tradition in the apex court.
As per the provisions of the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958, besides the apex court’s holidays and vacations, the individual judges are also entitled to their own quota of leave.
Depending on the number of years a judge puts in the service, he is entitled to certain days of leave on full salary, certain other offs on half salary and some more days off on one quarter salary.
Data from the Department of Justice reveals that the total number of cases pending in the apex court has gone up from last year and has already crossed 65,000 this year.
In 2009, the Law Commission in its 230th report had stated that vacations in the higher judiciary should be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days and the court working hours should be extended by at least half an hour.
“Considering the huge pendency of cases at all levels of judicial hierarchy, it has become necessary to increase the number of working days. It has to be introduced at all levels of judicial hierarchy and must start from the apex court.
With the increase in the salaries and perks of the Judges, it is their moral duty to respond commensurately,” the commission report had then stated.
The Law Commission’s report, which is under consideration of Chief Justice of India and all the respective Chief Justices of High Courts, also highlighted the need of ensuring speedy justice. It noted, “Speedy justice is the right of every litigating person. There is no denying the fact that delay frustrates justice. In the present set-up it often takes 10, 20, 30 or even more years before a matter is finally decided.”
Last year, the Delhi High Court had calculated that 464 years would be required to clear the arrears with the present strength of the judges in the high court. The position may not be that gloomy but is still alarming.
In Allahabad High Court, more than eight-and-a-half lakhs of cases are pending which include criminal appeals of the year 1980-82 and criminal revisions of the year 1990-95.