Expressing concern over the pendency of nearly three crore cases in the country, Union Law minister D V Sadananda Gowda today said it is a “worrisome backlog”.
“Although the continuing growth of pending cases in courts has been stemmed in the last three years, the mountain of more than three crore pending case still remains as a worrisome backlog,” Gowda said, addressing the fourth retreat of Supreme Court Judges at the National Judicial Academy here.
D V Sadananda Gowda minister said the government has taken steps to remove hundreds of obsolete laws from the statute book.
“We have taken steps to remove hundreds of obsolete laws from the statute book. We are revising the National Litigation Policy in order that the government discharges its role as a responsible litigant and to reduce unwarranted government litigation,” he said.
“We have taken up the amendments to Arbitration and Conciliation Act. We have passed the legislation setting up specialised Commercial Courts to resolve Commercial disputes expeditiously.
“All these measures reflect the government’s commitment in making India an ideal destination for foreign investment, a hub of arbitration and to choose a path where the growth and development go together to transform our Country,” the minister said.
D V Sadananda Gowda, however, said these measures would remain inadequate unless justice is “available” to the common man.
“Dispensation of justice is also vital for maintaining law and order and peace in the society. It is normally said, if you want to work for peace, work for justice. In fact, the foundation of civilisation rests on a Just society,” he said.
On the improved infrastructure in judiciary, he said “In the field of infrastructure for courts, a lot of government’s measures have yielded good results.
“Provision of funds to states for construction of court buildings and residential quarters for judicial officers has increased manifold in the last few years. Rs 3,691 crore has been released by Centre to state governments since 2011. State governments have contributed Rs 5,751 crore in the last three years alone,” Gowda said.
“Rs 1,947 crore was released under the 13th Finance Commission award to state governments for various activities, such as establishment of ADR Centres and judicial academies, conduct of Lok Adalats and Legal Aid services and training of Judicial Officers and public prosecutors,” he added.
The 14th Finance Commission, he said, has endorsed a proposal for expenditure of Rs 9,749 crore during 2015-2019 by the state governments on similar activities.
More than Rs 600 crore have been spent by the central government under Phase I of the eCourts Project and another Rs 1,670 crore has been sanctioned for Phase II due for completion by 2019.
Most of the district and subordinate courts are now computerised and made available online case data, orders/judgements and cause lists to lawyers and litigants alike.