After nearly 40,000 judgements since 1950, many of which have been lengthy, Supreme Court Judges have informally come together to accept a hitherto un-admitted yet serious problem- verbose verdicts often create confusion, both for law and litigants.Most judges feel that adding pages to judgements – in cases where the law has already been laid down by the apex court neither adds muscle to delineated legal points nor helps the litigant, who has waited for years only to grapple with a word heavy decision.
“Lean to the point judgements delivered in quick time” is the message that the judges are informally circulating among themselves every time meet in groups and discuss ways to fine-tune it.
“The Judges are serious about rendering speedy justice to litigants. In most cases, the law has already been succinctly laid down… Those cases need to be decided fast with crisp judgements focusing only on facts in the backdrop of the already laid down law.”
Another factor which the judges feel needs sensitive handling is to curtail lengthy arguments by noted Senior Advocates even on small issue.
The judges appear to be veering to a common approach – a time limit could be fixed for arguments right at the beginning of a complex issue and strictly adhered to. All these measures aim to speed up the justice delivery system in Higher Courts.
If cases have an average life span of 3-4 years in the Supreme Court, it is around 5-6 years in High Courts. The need for urgent steps is imperative, judges feel.
CJI Justice H L Dattu has set up to two committees to tackle arrears of both the Supreme Court and High Courts; that for the Supreme Court comprises Justices TS Thakur and RF Nariman.
But the trickier task of finding a way to tackle the arrears in High Courts, which are independent constitutional institutions not sub-ordinate to the Supreme Court, has been entrusted to the three future CJI’s – Justices JS Khekar, Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gopal.
The CJI Justice H L Dattu has already written to Chief Justices of all High Courts seeking views on tackling mounting arrears in their courts and has received responses from them.
The committee will soon deal with the huge pendency.