Justice has to be timely
The numbers of cases keep piling up in various courts for disposal and this phenomenon has been a routine for many years now. At the end of the day it is the common man who suffers as the courts are the last respite for his hopes to come alive.
In Jammu and Kashmir as many as 2.63 lakh civil and criminal cases are pending in various courts for disposal. Around 67456 cases- 7946 criminal cases and 59510 civil cases- are pending in common High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories.
Under the Re-Organisation Act, the High Court of the erstwhile State of J&K serves as common High Court for both the UTs which came into existence on October 31, 2019.
The High Court is presently short of five judges as it has only 12 judges against sanctioned strength of 17. The scene is no different in subordinate courts as 196393 cases are pending there of which 78436 are civil cases and 117957 are criminal cases.
The delay in disposal of cases has got even worse due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation has meant that the common people who resorted to courts to get their issues resolved will have to wait endlessly to get their cases listed for hearings. Not only have the functioning in the courts like other offices been affected but the virtual mode that is being adopted to hear cases of utmost importance have failed to achieve the desired results.
India is already lagging in getting the cases listed for hearings. Though ensuring speedy disposal of cases in the courts has to be the key areas but it seems that litigants will have to wait for many more months to get their cases listed and in most cases redressed.
The Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is also one o the regions where a long list o cases is pending for disposal. An insight into the work load of the Courts at different levels and the work accomplished by them in JK notwithstanding, there still are more than three lakh cases that are pending in the Jammu and Kashmir high court and subordinate courts.
There are many reasons as to why a staggering figure of more than three lakh cases is pending in the courts. One being the uncertainty over the situation in the Valley as often strikes and shut-down too play its part.
Besides, efforts to bring in work efficiency in the courts have never been a priority for the governments that ruled the erstwhile state for long. Here the onus lies on both the federal and the state government.
Notably, in 2007 the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, announced the introduction of e-Courts Mission Mode. This scheme that was introduced in the courts was devised mainly to overcome the difficult issue of huge pendency and also the long delays in meting out justice.
Consequently, a comprehensive scheme was formulated which was commonly referred to as e-Courts Mission Mode. The purpose was to introduce the latest skills of information and communication technology into the judicial system and especially in handling the under trial and jailed cases.
But one silver lining has emerged amidst the uncertainty. The case disposal in subordinate courts is 16 percent more than the High Court. The case clearance rate of J&K High Court stood at 76.20 per cent for the period between 2017 to 2019, but during the same period, the CCR of J&K Subordinate Court was 92. 60 percent. The CCR is defined as the number of cases cleared in a year measured against the cases filed that year.