Chandigarh, August 9, 2023: As per media reports, the sitting Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court disposed of as many as 87,083 cases till July this year. Available information suggests, the disposal, however, has not made much of a difference in the total pendency of cases.
According to the report published in The Tribune, the number of cases pending in the high court when it opened in January this year after a short winter break was 4,47,886 as against 4,42,805 at present. The data of the cases disposed of by the sitting judges of the high court –– excluding the judges who retired or were transferred during the period –– indicates that the disposal so far this year was maximum in May, when as many as 15,951 cases were decided.
In January, the disposal was 13,991, followed by 15,424 in February, 14,041 in March, 11,711 in April, 2,206 in June and 13,759 in July. The data also indicates that a maximum of 5,105 cases were disposed of by Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan, followed by 3,719 by Justice Anoop Chitkara, 3,598 by Justice Anil Kshetarpal, 3,211 by Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi and 3,201 by Justice Jagmohan Bansal.
The disposal of cases depends upon a number of factors, including the nature of cases. Regular second appeals, for instance, take more time for adjudication due to the voluminous record. Protection and compromise matters, on the other hand, comparatively consume less time for adjudication.
National Judicial Data Grid — the monitoring tool to identify, manage and reduce pendency — reveals no less than 1,66,427 criminal cases involving life and liberty are pending before the high court. No less than 16,256 or 3.67 per cent of all cases are 20 to 30 years old, – The Tribune added.
Making the matters worse is the fact that the pendency has not gone down despite the resumption of “physical hearing” after more than two years of restrictive functioning following the Covid outbreak. The high court at one point of time this year even had a record number of 66 judges, but the number of judges has gradually fallen down 59 against the sanctioned strength of 85.
The number is expected to fall further with the retirement and impending transfer of more judges. The judges retiring this year are Justice BS Walia and Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill. Direct fallout of the pendency is lesser number of per-year hearings. Some of the high-profile or otherwise important cases could not come up for effective hearing more than three to four times last year. Among them was a petition by the High Court Bar Association for chambers and multi-level parking. The matter, involving issues revolving around the city’s heritage, came up for hearing thrice least year after more than two years’ wait.