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June 26, 2018

Implement Disposal Review Mechanism, Fill Up Vacancies In District Judiciary: CJI to HC Chief Justices


Justice-Dipak-Misra

CJI Dipak Misra has written to all high court Chief Justices briefing them to set up a new disposal review mechanism to clear cases on priority and cut the heavy backlog that corrupt India’s justice-delivery system.

The letter, written recently, suggests a framework be put in place whereby each high court “every month takes stock of cases filed and disposed” there as well as in subordinate courts.

As per CJI Misra’ suggestion, the Disposal Review Mechanism in High Courts would “concentrate on the institution and disposal on a priority basis”.

The communication emphasizes the findings of the Arrears Committee of the Apex Court, which establish that a colossal number of Criminal and Civil Appeals remain pending in various High Courts.

“The High Courts have already been requested to prepare action plans with cut off dates for disposal of 10 year and 5 year old cases and such plans have to be continuously monitored by Committees at the level of High Courts and Sub-ordinate Courts in the light of experience and new ideas. Experiences show that overall monitoring, review and course correction of any action plan yields optimum results.”

“Continuing formative assessment is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system. It is essential to align a process-oriented approach with a result-oriented approach in an effort to build core processes into strength and achieve the desired goal,” the letter read. Earlier, the arrears committee has been loaded with “monitoring and preparing an action plan with cut-off dates for disposal of 10 and 5-year-old cases”.

Legal experts believe the problem could worsen in the days to come. CJI Misra hopes that with this approach, “a robust and regular monitoring and evaluation system” will come into place.

The letter was sent to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts except those of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Tripura, given that their rate of pendency of cases is fairly minimal.

Besides the problem of pendency, the CJI in another letter to the high courts has highlighted the problem of vacancies in the lower judiciary and directed the high courts to make immediate appointments where vacancies are more than 15%.

“Take immediate steps to ensure filling up of vacancies and set up an online portal for continuous monitoring of the vacancies,” reads the letter.

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