Saturday, July 31, 2010

CJI says all cases not arrears, Patil takes note

A correction pointed out by Chief Justice of India (CJI) S H Kapadia at a function on Saturday that not all of the three crore pending cases cited in official data are "arrears" saw President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the speaker immediately after him, improvise on her feet.

"Stop blaming "my brother judges" for arrears in courts, not all pending cases are arrears," said CJI Kapadia as President Patil watched on at Vigyan Bhawan.

They were attending the inaugural function of a workshop 'Balance Sheet of 60 Years of the Administration of Justice under the Indian Constitution (1950-2010)'.

The CJI said the much-touted data of 3 crore arrears (as on October 2009) is incorrect for the simple reason that it does not differentiate between "arrears" and "pendency". "Pendency is not arrears. There are different parameters for pendency and arrears. If I admit a case today... this morning, it cannot be arrears. We need to dissect this 3-crore data. Arrears is not 3 crore but one crore," the Chief Justice said.

The CJI divided arrears into two — "sticky" or complex cases and "subverted" cases in which one of the litigants deliberately delays court proceedings.

Facts and figures at his finger tips, Justice Kapadia spelt out each one in detail: "62 per cent of the cases shown as arrears in subordinate courts are one year old. Out of 40.6 lakh cases shown as arrears in high courts as of December 2009, only 22.7 lakh are arrears." "The high courts have disposed off 1.61 lakh cases and subordinate courts have a disposal rate of 16 lakh cases. Still, no appreciation is shown for the efforts put in by my brother judges in the Supreme Court, high courts and subordinate judiciary. By 'brother' I mean even the Munsiff is my brother," Justice Kapadia said in his short impassioned speech.

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