BRIJ MOHAN LAL Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
BRIJ MOHAN LAL
UNION OF INDIA
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Arijit Pasayat, J. -
(1.)All these cases relate to the establishment and functioning of Courts described as Fast Track Courts and, therefore, are disposed of by this common judgment. The Eleventh Finance Commission (hereinafter referred to as the 'Finance Commission') allocated Rs. 502.90 crores under Article 275 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short 'the Constitution') for the purpose of setting up of 1734 Courts in various States to deal with long pending cases, particularly, Sessions cases. As allocation of funds made by the Finance Commission stipulated time bound utilization within a period of five years, various State Governments were required to take necessary steps to establish such Courts. It appears that the Finance Commission had suggested that the States may consider re-employment of retired judges for limited period, for the disposal of pending cases, since these Courts were to be ad hoc in the sense that they would not be a permanent addition to the number of Courts within a particular State. Challenge was made to the Scheme known as the Fast Track Courts Scheme in various High Courts, primarily on the ground that there was no constitutional sanction for employment of retired judges and effective guidelines were not in operation. It was also highlighted that infrastructural facilities were not available so as to make Scheme a reality. Several such deficiencies were pointed out. A plea was made that instead of retired officers, eligible members of the Bar should be considered for appointment.
(2.)Stand of the Union of India on the other hand was that on the recommendations of the Finance Commission, a note was prepared by the Department of Justice, Government of India. There is no mandatory requirement for appointment of retired Sessions/Additional Sessions Judges or other officers. Ad hoc promotion of judicial officers was also contemplated. It was pointed out that consequential vacancies created on account of ad hoc promotions can be filled up by a special drive so that there is no shortfall in the personnel of the lower Courts.
(3.)Learned counsel appearing for the various parties were unanimous on one important aspect i.e. the problems created by long pendency of cases in different Courts all over the country. It was also conceded that any effort for reducing the pendency is a welcome step. Keeping in view the importance of the matter, learned counsel for the parties were asked to give their suggestions. Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned Solicitor General has given several suggestions with which we shall deal later. Learned counsel for the other parties have more or less agreed to the suggestions, except to the suggestion regarding appointment of retired judges, more particularly, those with adverse service records.
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