The pendency rate of court cases is not only due to the shortage of judges but also various other factors, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju informed Parliament on Thursday.
The Minister was responding to a query regarding the reasons behind the pendency of High Court cases.
"The pendency of cases in courts is not only due to a shortage of judges in High Courts but also due to various other factors like---an increase in the number of states and central legislations, accumulation of first appeals, a continuation of ordinary civil jurisdiction in some of the High Courts, appeals against orders of quasi-judicial forums going to High Courts," said Rijiju.
He further added that number of revisions/appeals, frequent adjournments, indiscriminate use of the writ jurisdiction, lack of adequate arrangement to monitor, track and bunching of cases for hearing, vacation period of Courts, and assigning work of administrative nature to the Judges, are also included in the factors that affect the pendency rate.
"While filling up of vacancies in the High Courts is a continuous, integrated and collaborative process requiring consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities, vacancies keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of Judges. The government is committed to filling up of vacancy expeditiously in a time-bound manner," Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha.
Rijiju further told the Lok Sabha that to increase the judge strength of a High Court, the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court as well as the State Government is required since the Chief Justice of that High Court is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the court and the State Government has to provide for infrastructural facilities, salaries of Judges etc.
"The sanctioned strength of Judges in the High Court has increased from 906 in 2014 to 1108 in 2022," he further marked.
While responding to queries in Parliament he also stated that the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Court is made under Articles 124, 217 and 224 of the Constitution of India which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons.
The Government has, however, been requesting the Chief Justices of the High Courts that while sending proposals for the appointment of judges, due consideration be given to suitable candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women to ensure social diversity in appointment of judges in the High Courts, said Rijiju.
Enabling representation of women judges in the High Courts against the sanctioned strength of 1108 Judges, 775 Judges are working as of January 31, out of which 106 are women Judges which makes 9.5 per cent women Judges of the working strength in the High Courts, Law and Justice Minister said.
Kiren Rijiju also said that the appointment of Judges and Judicial Officers in the District and Subordinate Courts falls within the domain of the High Courts and State Governments concerned.
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