Report No. 239
11. Increase in the number of courts and filling up of vacancies promptly:
11.1 In All India Judges Association case, AIR 2002 SC 1752, paras 24 and 25 the Supreme Court, on a comparative assessment of the position existing in other countries, directed that there should be 50 judges for a million population as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (Rajya Sabha) 85th report1 as well as recommended by the Law Commission of India in its 120th Report. 2The Court noticed that the sanctioned strength of judges then existing was only 10.5 (or 13) per one million.
Though the Supreme Court directed that there should be addition of courts in a phased manner, very little progress has been made. Many State Governments plead financial difficulties for the creation of so many courts. The proportion which the present sanctioned strength of judges bears to the total population is about 15 per one million. The docket ratio per Judge in the District and Subordinate Judiciary is approximately 1630 cases.
This is based on sanctioned strength. The unfortunate part of it is that at any given point of time, about 20% of the vacancies of Judl. Officers remain unfilled. This is on account of lack of proper planning on the part of the High Courts, coupled with inordinate delays in recruitment process and promotions. Further, delayed promotions naturally give rise to considerable heartburn among the members of the service.
1. Law's Delays: Arrears in Courts (December, 2001), para 38.2
2. Manpower Planning in Judiciary: A Blueprint (31st July, 1987), para 9
11.2 It may be stated that with the setting up of Fast Track Sessions Courts in most of the States, lot of pendency has been cleared, as far as the Sessions cases are concerned. The Central Government has stopped funding such courts from April 2011. However, in many States, FT Sessions courts are continuing with State funding up to March 2012. While much progress has been achieved in the disposal of sessions cases, the pendency has increased in Magistrates courts.
This is by reason of quicker promotions earned by Jr. Civil Magistrates' as a result of setting up of Fast Track Sessions Courts and the resultant vacancies in that cadre adding to the existing vacancies. The pendency in some of the courts of First Class Judicial Magistrates and Chief Judicial Magistrates runs into thousands and it is at an unmanageable level.
Keeping this in view, the 13th Finance Commission has evolved a scheme for setting up of a large number of Fast Track Special Magistrates Courts (Evening courts/shift courts) to deal with the cases involving minor offences and simpler matters. Summary trial cases, cases under section 125 Cr. P.C., cases under section 138 of NI Act, traffic offences (other than those under MV Act) are to be assigned to these Magistrates.
The Central Government meets the expenditure initially. There is a huge financial provision made for Gram Nyayalayas also. Certain practical difficulties are being experienced in making these courts operational. The dearth of judicial officers and staff is being felt and in some States like UP, it is reported that the lawyers are not in favour of Evening/Morning Courts.
11.3 There is an allied problem of inadequate staff strength in the Courts, inefficient staff and large number of vacancies of essential posts like stenographers and staff having knowledge of computer operation. Further, the data posted on the website is not updated promptly. The lack of proper servicing facilities in the District and moffusil areas is resulting in the computers remaining in disrepair, un-rectified for months together. Moreover, the recruitment process followed by the courts needs to be refined so as to facilitate induction of efficient and competent candidates.