A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre and state governments to take appropriate steps to double the number of judges in the High Courts and subordinate courts.
The PIL urged the apex court to direct implementation of judicial charter in all the Courts to decide the cases within three years and to breakeven and dispose of the backlog by 2023.
"Proper implementation of the judicial charter to decide the cases, including cases pending before Tehsildar, SDM, ADM, CO, SOC and DDC, within three years in the spirit of the resolution dated October 25, 2009," stated the plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.
"Alternatively, being the custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights, the Court may be pleased to direct the Centre and States to implement the. recommendations of Law Commission Report no. 245 and take other apposite steps in order to breakeven and dispose of the backlog in a three-year time frame," it added.
Cause of action accrued on October 25, 2009, and continues when Centre promised to reduce pendency of cases from 15 years to three years but Centre did nothing to implement the recommendations proposed by Law Commission of India in Report no. 114 (an alternative forum for resolution of disputes), Report no 116 (formation of Indian judicial service), Report no. 221 (need for speedy justice), Report no. 230 (reform in the judiciary), Report no. 45 (arrears and backlog), the petition submitted.
"Right to speedy justice is an integral part of Article 2. However, the Centre and States have deliberately neglected the importance of speedy justice. They have not provided required judicial infrastructure to clear the huge backlog," the petition said on the backlog of cases.
It further said that the number of Judges per million populations is less than 20. The figure stood at 19.78 in 2018, 17.48 in 2014 and 14.7 in 2002. These numbers show how the Indian judiciary is suffering due to low manpower.
Lacks of cases are pending before Tehsildar, SDM, ADM, CO, SOC, DDC for over 10 years on settled questions of law. Around 5 million cases are pending in High Courts. Out of them, around 10 lacks cases are pending for over 10 years and 2 lacks for more than 20 years and around 45,000 for over three decades. These numbers suggest that our country's judicial system is slowing down day by day, the petition added.
It further cited an example where a property dispute is pending before Consolidation Officer Jaunpur for 35 years and the victim got more than 400 dates but not the justice.
"The gigantic pendency of cases and deliberate inordinate delays are diminishing the faith of people in the judiciary. Not only this, it is root-cause of increasing criminalization. People are taking law in their hands because they are losing faith in the judiciary," the plea added.