A much desired and a welcome step has been taken by the State High Court in respect of addressing the tedious problem of long pendency of court cases in all the courts across Jammu and Kashmir. A general feeling among the litigants has, all along, been that inordinate delays caused in deciding court cases amounted not only to delayed justice but denied justice as lot of time in the form of many precious years and money was getting expended and perhaps, if desired, the situation could be salvaged and retrieved. When there is grit and determination, even out of difficulties and limited resources, desired results can successfully be achieved.
The question also arises as to why are there so many court cases added each year to the already long list of pending cases, as compared to earlier years, could be due to host of reasons . They are – a higher level of awareness of rights by the people, exercising Right to Information, not enough judges around and equally not more courts to try cases, less productive days as summer and other vacations by courts take away many active days, obsolete practices and avoidable procedures etc. Too many cases being in courts where the State Government is litigant, most of those could well be avoided at the first instance by a responsive and performing administrative machinery of the Government.
Whatever the reasons, solutions have got to be found out from the existing system itself till more judicial reforms and innovative measures were taken to dispense justice as early as possible. An extra mile could be walked within available resources for getting the pendency of cases reduced and in this connection, an Action Plan has been chalked out by the State High Court for disposal of maximum cases by March 2019 . In this connection, an impression of active monitoring can be derived from the fact that targets are proposed to be fixed and ensured to be achieved by all the Judicial Officers. It is heartening that the utility of appraisal of the achievements on periodic basis is sought to be implemented in the instant matter by asking for submission of monthly reports so as to circumvent any areas of slackness at any level.
The Action Plan looks loaded with an ambition to mean business and accordingly, carries a provision that all Principal and Additional District and Sessions Judges are required to decide and dispose of all cases of under – trials by March 31, 2019 where the charge sheet had been filed on or before March 31, 2016. Accordingly, all criminal revisions filed on or before June 30, 2018 are sought to be decided and disposed of by March 31, 2019.
Hectic deliberations going on for quite some time in this regard at the level of State High Court as to which steps could be taken to cut down pendency of cases in all courts have resulted in formulation of an Action Plan . The initiative and the seriousness of purpose seeming to be attached to the Plan is encouraging and merits appreciation especially the Action Plan having been approved and supported actively by the Acting Chief Justice of the State High Court, Justice Alok Aradhe. This, undoubtedly, is a step in the right direction and deserves to be made fully successful at all levels to further strengthen the unflinching confidence of the people in our judicial system.