As the courts in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are hard pressed for disposing off the nearly 2.90 lakh cases --- civil and criminal, the Chief Justice of the state Badar Durrez announced the introduction of video-conferencing facility for litigants from far-flung areas of the state.
The move announced last month is believed to ensure speedy disposal of cases and to lessen the inconvenience to litigants hailing from Kargil and Leh districts. The novel idea of ensuring speedy justice using technology as a medium for hearing cases through video-conferencing from Srinagar and Jammu will save time and other resources of people living in far-flung areas.
The high pendency of cases in courts has validated the Supreme Court’s observation that the delay in decision on cases before the courts of law had led to diminishing faith among the public in the Indian judicial system.
Pertinently, more than 1,00,000 cases comprising around 98,651 civil and 7,659 criminal are pending in the High Court alone. Last year a total of 21,665 cases have been disposed off. However, the overall picture is more grim as nearly 2.90 lakh cases --- civil and criminal --- are pending in various courts, including in the High Court.
These figures should alarm anyone after all we are living in a civilised world and hence we cannot afford such laxity in our judicial system. The fact is that a serious view has to be taken by the civil society on the importance of vibrant judiciary in a democratic state.
The introduction of video conferencing will save time and money, and this will be a major step in bringing justice to the doorsteps of the people in the remote parts of the State.
But, the announcement needs a serious follow up in terms of establishing a mechanism so that all necessary arrangements are made to turn this project into a reality. Secondly, the judicial officers who will be associated with this exercise should also be provided hands on training for getting this project up and running.
The decision no doubt has raised the hopes among the common people in Ladakh and Kargil region of getting justice delivered at their doorsteps. However, the proposal to get the hearings through the video conferencing turn into a reality needs a lot of hard work and planning on the part of the officials concerned.
The project should also be observed on pilot basis and if the results are encouraging this project should be introduced elsewhere in the state.