This Summer Holiday, SC Vacation Bench Will be Hard at Work
By Kanu Sarda - NEW DELHI
Published: 30th Mar 2014 10:16:32 AM
The Supreme Court of India has notified that its vacation bench would now hear the pending regular cases during its summer break to clear the backlog of cases. The apex court, which closes for summer from May 12 to June 29, has a pendency of over 3 crore cases.
To utilise this time, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, who retires on April 26, has issued a notification that all pending regular cases will be taken up by the vacation bench. Two benches of two members each would hear all old regular cases that did not come up for hearing on the regular days due to paucity of time and the need to handle fresh cases that are filed everyday.
“All regular cases that don’t come up for hearing in normal course of function due to filing of fresh cases will be heard during vacations,” the notification says. The vacation bench will hear the cases on all days from Tuesday to Friday. According to the notification, all litigants and lawyers can approach the registry if required to get their regular cases listed before the vacation bench.
“The parties will have to seek consent from the opposite party as well before approaching the registry for listing the case,” the notification states.
Cases on all matters ranging from labour matters to family law, land acquisitions, arbitration, election petitions, civil disputes, service matters and habeas corpus matters can be taken up by the bench during this period.
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 is already close to 70,000 this year. It was also observed that the pendency of cases during the summer vacations shoots up by around 3,000 cases.
At present, nearly 19,000 judges, including 18,000 in trial courts, are dealing with a pendency of three crore cases, resulting in a civil case lasting for nearly 15 years and giving credence to the adage “Justice delayed is justice denied”.
According to a National Court Management System (NCMS) report, the number of cases will increase five-fold from the present level, but the judge strength would increase only four times from the current strength to 75,000. This means, the judges could expect to be burdened with more work than now, which could extend the life span of cases.
Giving reasons for the estimate, NCMS said, “As India’s literacy rate and per capita income increases, the number of new cases filed per thousand population is likely to increase from the current rate of about 15 (up from around three cases per thousand three decades ago) to about 75 cases in the next three decades.”
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