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Report No. 14

7. Writ Petitions: institutions and disposals.-

The statement below gives the figures of the institution, disposal and pendency of writ applications in the various High Courts during the years 1954-56.

Comparative Statement Showing The Number of Write Petitions (Exclusive Write Appeals) Instituted, Disposed of and Pending in The The Various High Courts For The Year 1954, 1955 and 1956

Name of the State

Pending at the beginning of the year

Instituted

Total for disposal

Disposed of

Pending at the close of the year

Remarks

1954

1955

1956

1954

1955

1956

1954

1955

1956

1954

1955

1956

1954

1955

1956

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

Andhra Pradesh

661(A)

808

957

228

792

1177

889

1600

2084

81

643

497

808

957

1637

(A) This figure indicates the pendency as on.-7-1957.

Assam

16

70

31

118

85

121

134

155

152

64

124

72

70

31

80

(D) 711 writ petitions were disposed of by transfer to the Andhra High Court.

Bihar

335

343

373

413

418

616

748

761

989

405

388

468

343

373

521

(E) 125 writ petitions were disposed of by transfer to the Andhra High Court.

Bombay

127

313

285

878

1032

1616

1005

1345

1901

692

1060

1439

313

285

462

(F) 105 writ petitions were received by transfer from PEPSU.

Kerala

142

100

301

219

460

679(G)

361

560

980

261

259

445

100

301

535

(G) 106 writ petitions were disposed of by transfer from Madras.

Madhya Pradesh

177

238

408

534

577

535

711

815

943

473

407

460

238

408

483

(H) 13 writ petitions were disposed of by transfer to Madras.

Madras

1601

616

835

827

1011

1557(M)

2448

1627

2392

1812(D)

792

1392(E)

616

835

1000

Mysore*

72

131

N.A.

173

257

N.A.

245

388

N.A.

114

169

N.A.

131

219

N.A.

(*) The figures shown against the State of Mysore relate to the official years 1954-1955 and 1956.

Orissa

61

367

594

406

400

472

467

767

1066

100

173

582

367

594

484

Punjab

260

307

399

852

740

992(f)

1112

1047

1391

805

648

660

307

399

371

The abbrevaiation "N.A." stands for "not available."

Rajasthan

977

412

301

692

365

471

1669

777

772

1257

476

423

412

301

349

Uttar Pradesh

1474

1561

546

1564

1461

5025

3038

3022

5571

1477

2476

2227

1561

546

3294

West Bengal

353

595

657

701

647

1067

1054

1242

1724

459

585

513

595

657

1211

8. Extent of delays.-

It appears from the figures which we have been able to collect that a number of High Courts have just managed to keep pace with the writ applications which have been filed before them from year to year. But some of them have undoubtedly lagged far behind. It is of the essence of the relief contemplated by Article 226 that it should be very speedily granted. The delays in dealing with these applications not only inconvenience the citizen whose rights are threatened or infringed but they also hamper the State in the discharge of its manifold administrative functions.

We notice that, in some of the High Courts, there were pending on the 1st January, 1957 writ applications filed in the years 1954 and 1955. Some have been pending for an even longer period, though this may be due to special reasons. The statement below shows the years of the institution of writ applications pending in the various High Courts on 1st January, 1957.

Comparative Statement Showing The Pendency of Writ Petitions (Excluding Writ Appeals) in The Various High Courts According To The Year of Institution of The Proceeding as on.-1-1957.

Name of the State

1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

Total

Remarks

1

2

3

435

6

7

8

9

10

Andhra

7

25

14

23

33

541

994

1637

Assam

..

..

..

..

5

31

44

80

Bihar(A)

..

1

10

14

33

150

533

741

(A) the figures shown against the State of Bihar include the miscellaneous judicial cases also.

Bombay(B)

..

3

3

4

65

146

N.A.

221

(B) The figures shown against the State of Bombay indicate the position as on.-1-1956.

Kerala

..

1

3

8

10

79

434

535

Madhya Pradesh

..

..

6

..

12

76

299

393*

(*) It appears that the total pendency was 483.All the pending writ petitions do not seem to have been accounted for on account of reorganisation of Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Madras

..

3

54

4

22

92

825

1000

Mysore

..

..

..

..

7

41

134

182

Orissa

..

..

6

..

98

151

229

484

Punjab (C)

..

..

..

19

43

337

N.A.

399

(C) The figures shown against the State of the Punjab indicate the position as on.-1-1956.

Rajasthan

..

..

2

3

15

53

276

349

Uttar Pradesh

..

1

..

1

28

143

3121

3294

West Bengal

..

..

1

2

11

132

N.A.

146

(D) The figures shown against the State of West Bengal indicate the position as on the Original Side of the High Court. The letters "N.A." Stand for " Not Available.

9. Target time for disposal (Need for close scrutiny).-

We have already indicated elsewhere that, as far as possible, these applications should be disposed of within a period of six months from the date of their institution. We have also dealt elsewhere with measures which can be usefully adopted for scrutinising these applications at the admission stage so that the files of the Courts may not be clogged by applications which prima facie have no merit and which are bound eventually to fail.

10. Hearing by bench or single judge.-

It is necessary to briefly discuss the manner of disposal of applications under Article 226 followed by the different High Courts, in view of the delays which have arisen in their disposal by some of the High Courts. All High Courts examine these applications before admitting them. In some of the courts, this examination is made by a Bench, while in others a single Judge deals with them at the admission stage. The advantage of a Bench dealing with the matter initially is that, if admission is refused, no question arises of a Letters Patent Appeal being filed against the order of refusal.

The practice of admissions being dealt with by a bench is followed on the appellate side in Bombay where we are told that a large number of applications are rejected at this stage after a fairly full hearing of the applicant's counsel. We should have thought that multiplicity of proceedings could be avoided, if initially a bench dealt with the matter. In Madras, however, the practice is different. There, a single judge deals with admissions. Thereafter, if the application is admitted, there is a hearing on the merits also by a single judge. A Letters Patent Appeal lies from the decision of the single judge, but the appeal is not a matter of course.

A Bench of Judges decides whether the appeal should be admitted. If the appeal is admitted, it is eventually heard on the merits by the Bench. At first sight, this procedure seems to be cumbrous and dilatory but the figures made available to us of the number of applications filed, the number admitted and eventually the number in which an appeal is filed and admitted indicate that the Madras method is not unsatisfactory in the results it yields. In Allahabad also, a practice somewhat similar to that in Madras is followed in the matter of dealing with applications under Article 226.



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