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Plea in Supreme Court seeks doubling number of judges in High Courts, other courts to end cases’ backlog in three years

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A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and States to take appropriate steps to double the number of judges in the High Courts and subordinate courts and implement a judicial charter to decide the cases.

The PIL filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought directions to the Centre and states to implement the recommendations of Law Commission Report No-245 and take other steps in order to break even and dispose of the backlog in a three-year time frame.

According to the plea, the Apex Court being the custodian of the  Constitution and should issue proper directions for implementation of the judicial charter in all the courts to decide the cases within 3 years and to break even and dispose of the backlog by 2023.

The plea has stated that the right to fair trial and speedy justice is a fundamental right under Article 21, therefore no procedure can be fair unless it ensures fair and speedy determination of guilt of the accused. Fair trial and speedy justice have been recognized as an inherent and implicit aspect in the spectrum of Article 21. In order to provide speedy justice to ordinary citizens, there is urgent need to reform the judicial system. An effective justice delivery system requires that justice should not only be delivered on time, but also be easily accessible to people, particularly people from vulnerable sections of society. A thorough understanding of current shortcomings and future needs of the system must guide the approach to reform.

“The process of reform must begin with an assessment of the country’s needs that the legal profession seeks to fulfill, namely the requirements across various levels of judiciary, gaps in criminal justice system, specific areas within the law which will require an increased number of practitioners in the near future. As part of judicial reforms, the lawyer community, which has often been ignored, should also be considered. Legal education and continuing professional development must create a socially sensitive lawyer of conscience, for whom justice delayed is not an opportunity but a blemish on one’s professional persona and a failure of the system of which one is an integral part,”

-the plea read.

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A similar plea was filed by Upadhyay in 2016 seeking Court’s direction to the Centre to double the number of judges in the country, which was disposed of by the Apex Court with liberty to the petitioner to approach the Court again.

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