|NEED FOR SPEED: Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar at his chamber. FILE PIC|
Clearance of pending cases is at the top of Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar’s priorities. Justice Kumar’s special drives in 2007 ensured that 19,289 more cases were cleared in 2007, compared to the previous year. In 2008, till date, the disposal rate has surpassed the number of cases being filed.
“The chief justice had undertaken a special drive last year where pending cases were disposed of. Constitution of extra division benches has effectively distributed the workload of petitions to five judges instead of two,” said an official. This year’s court vacation will also see more ‘Vacation Judges’ hearing matters for urgent disposals.
The high court has also reduced seven days from the annual vacation to make up for working days lost to public holidays. In the coming week too, the court will lose two working days on account of public holidays.
Earlier this year, the court missed a few Thursdays to government holidays. Since important petitions, including PILs, are heard on Thursdays, it has resulted in a sizeable accumulation of petitions. “The court officially needs to complete 210 working days in a year. Usually, most public holidays and festivals fall on weekends, which are regular court offs. This year, we have lost a number of weekdays. In 2008,
March and August have the maximum public holidays,” said Registrar General of the high court R P Sondurbaldota.
Lawyers, meanwhile, are displeased with the idea of a shorter vacation. “Vacations are a necessity and not a luxury these days,” said a senior advocate.
Disposals in 2006: 1,11,276 cases
Disposals in 2007: 1,30,565 cases
Increase in one year: 19,289 cases
Increased rates of disposals
Bombay bench: 60.63%
Nagpur bench: 45.04%
Aurangabad bench: 45%