The Indian Express reports that Chief Justice of India H L Dattu, concerned about the fact that there are more than three crore (300,000) cases pending in all courts across India, that he has asked Chief Justices of all High Courts through written letters to ensure that cases that are pending for five years or more in subordinate judiciaries are expeditiously disposed of, and encouraging lawyers and the judiciary to cooperate in this regard.
As on December 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of India had 64,919 cases pending. Up to the year ending 2013, it was seen that 44.5 lakh cases were pending with the 24 High Courts and 2.6 crore cases with the lower courts. At the top was the Allahabad High Court with 10,43,398 pending cases and Sikkim with the minimum of 120 pending cases at the end of 2013. The Delhi HC had recorded 64,652 pending cases.
To ensure expeditious disposal of cases, the CJI suggested the setting up of a special ‘Social Justice Bench’ to deal with those pending cases that have a social issue involved. He also encouraged the concept of Lok Adalats as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism for the disposal of petty cases.
According to the Union Minister for Law and Justice, D V Sadananda Gowda, law requires amendments to ensure there is a speedy disposal of cases. He suggested amendments in Acts like the Motor Vehicles Act, Negotiable Instruments Act and the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act to save the Court’s time. The government is also considering to make pre-trial conferences mandatory to ensure that there are no unwarranted adjournments. Indian lawyers practiving before the courts would also be asked to file all necessary documents without delay which would help in ensuring a speedy trial of cases.