Implement Disposal Review Mechanism, fill up lower court vacancies: CJI Misra to HCs

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra recently wrote to the Chief Justices of High Courts with suggestions for speedy disposal of matters as well as the filling of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary.

In light of the high number of pending cases in almost all the High Courts in India, CJI Misra wrote to the Chief Justices of various High Courts on June 11, suggesting that a Disposal Review Mechanism be put in place.

According to the suggestion made by CJI Misra, the Disposal Review Mechanism in High Courts would “concentrate on the institution and disposal on a priority basis.”

The communication underlines the findings of the Arrears Committee of the Supreme Court, which found that a large number of Criminal and Civil Appeals remain pending in various High Courts.

“The High Courts have already been requested to prepare action plans with cut off dates for disposal of 10 year and 5 year old cases and such plans have to be continuously monitored by Committees at the level of High Courts and Sub-ordinate Courts in the light of experience and new ideas. Experiences show that overall monitoring, review and course correction of any action plan yields optimum results.”

The letter also stated that while it is pertinent to accelerate the disposal of old cases and prioritised category cases, it was also important to ensure that the overall disposal matches the overall institution of cases as well. It is to look into these aspects that the Arrears Committees have been formed in all the High Courts, said the letter.

The CJI has also recommended that the Arrears Committee of each High Court meet at least once every month and for a monthly report to be submitted. This will ensure that disposal of old cases, as well as cases of prioritised categories, are monitored and the Committee’s suggestions are considered in the future.

As regards the Disposal Review Mechanism, CJI Misra wrote,

“Continuing formative assessment is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system. It is essential to align process oriented approach with result oriented approach in an effort to build core process into strengths and achieve the desired goal.”

CJI Misra hopes that with this approach, “a robust and regular monitoring and evaluation system” will come into place.

This letter was sent across to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts except those of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Tripura, given that the rate of pendency is not very high in these High Courts.

CJI Misra also took note of the high number of vacancies in district courts across the country and issued a communication to the High Courts in that regard on June 22. The High Courts have been told to fill up vacancies in the district judiciary wherever the rate of vacancy is 15 per cent or higher.

Observing that the process of monitoring vacancies in the subordinate judiciary needs further strengthening, CJI Misra wrote,

“It has also been obligated upon the High Courts to ensure that the Selection and Appointment Committee periodically monitors the process of filling up vacancies in the District Judiciary and an online portal is developed for its continuous monitoring.”

The communication regarding filling up of vacancies was sent to the High Courts of Allahabad, Delhi, Gauhati, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa, Patna, Punjab & Haryana, Sikkim, Tripura, and Uttarakhand.

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