A LANDMARK INITIATIVE

It is an established fact that denial of speedy justice is a threat to public confidence in the administration of justice and the fundamental right to speedy trial cannot be denied on the plea of shortage of judges or non-availability of financial resources, not to talk of multiple flimsy factors that prolong the litigation process thus delaying the justice delivery. While the Supreme Court had issued a slew of directions to all the high courts in this regard last year, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today rolled out an Action Plan for disposal of pending cases by 31st March 2019 which if implemented in true letter and spirit will undoubtedly prove to be a revolutionary step in the direction of getting rid of the huge volume of pendencies in different courts across the state. In the present day scenario the prolonged litigation process defeats the very purpose of administering justice. The delay in the administration of Justice is due to multiple factors but the prime factor is the shortage of Judges and multiple adjournments on flimsy grounds. While the appointment of judges continues to be entangled in the controversy due to Judiciary and the Executive being at cross roads on the issue, it is the common people who continue to suffer immensely. Going through the circular issued today by Registrar Vigilance, J&K High Court, it seems that the plan has been worked out after a highly meticulous analysis and a hectic exercise as the directions specifically mention the detailed dates till which the cases have been filed and are pending besides fixing the target date for disposal of cases in different categories as 31st March 2019. Not only this, in order to ensure that the plan works strictly a mechanism for its implementation has been put in place with Committee comprising of Pr. District and Sessions Judge, senior most Addl. District Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate of the district, presided over by Pr. District and Sessions Judge, constituted in each district. Every month this Committee shall oversee and regulate the progress and disposal of the old cases pending in the district after identifying nature, category and duration of such cases and send report to the High Court on monthly basis. The plan also emphasizes upon the fair distribution of cases in the courts of a particular hierarchy to prevent overburdening of such courts. Last but not the least the plan directs the presiding officers of the courts to prioritize the cases of under trial prisoners, senior citizens, marginalized sections of society, differently abled persons, crime relating to women and cases under NDPS Act. Being a move towards improving the pace of the justice delivery system in the state the High Court’s plan is really a welcome direction as this will go a long way in ensuring that justice doesn’t get denied on account of delays especially in the criminal justice delivery system. Now that the landmark directions stand issued it is hoped that the other vital factors will also be taken full care of so that the desired level of justice delivery system gets established in true letter and spirit without any compromise on quality of justice. While the directions issued in this regard seem to be quite appreciable in view of the aim being to achieve quick delivery system especially that of clearing the pendency within just about nine months, only time will tell whether the plan turns out to be a success or not…?