57,179 cases were pending in the Supreme Court of India as on 30 June this year and 42,17,903 cases were pending in the High Courts as on 30 September, Law Minister, Salman Khurshid informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
The minister said that in order to facilitate expeditious disposal of cases in courts, Government has taken a number of measures as mentioned below. The Government has approved setting up of ‘National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms’. The major goals of this body would be to increase access by reducing delays and arrears in the system, enhance accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities.
A Mission Mode approach to infrastructure development of subordinate judiciary is among the major initiatives under the National Mission for Justice Delivery which is approved by the Government.
Inadequacy of infrastructure in subordinate courts has been one of the bottlenecks in the speedy delivery of justice. Keeping this in mind in the financial year 2011-12, the allocation for the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for infrastructure development has been increased fivefold from Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore. Funding pattern has also been increased from 50:50 to 75:25 for the states and 90:10 for the NE states.
In addition to this, the Government has accepted the recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission to provide a grant of Rs 5000 crore to the States for improving the justice delivery system in the country over a five year period 2010-15. A grant of Rs 1,000 crore has already been released to the States during the year 2010-11. The grants provide for training of judicial officers, strengthening of State Judicial Academies, training of public prosecutors and maintenance of heritage court buildings.
In order to computerise the justice delivery system Government is implementing e-Courts Project for the District and Subordinate Courts in the country and upgradation of ICT infrastructure in superior courts at an estimated cost of Rs 935 crore. The target is to computerize 12,000 courts by 31 March, 2012 and 14,249 courts by 31 March, 2014. Court Management and case management can be done through National Arrears Grid created under the project.
State Litigation policy is to be formulated with the aim to transform government into an efficient and responsible litigant. If the cases involving government are reduced then the courts will have time to dispose of a large number of cases to achieve the target of reducing the pendency.
The current year allocation for Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 has been increased from Rs 40 crore to Rs 150 crore. So far 151 Gram Nyayalayas have been notified by the states.
All the Chief Justices of High Courts have been requested to launch a campaign to reduce pendency of cases in court from July-December, 2011 and also for filling up vacancies of judges in the High Courts and Subordinate Courts during the same period. Vacancies and delays are inevitably correlated, hence a campaign mode approach for filling vacancies need to be launched. At least 50 percent of the vacancies could be filled up in respect of subordinate courts by December 2011, the Minister said in his reply.