Shortage of judges a hinderance in justice delivery system: CJI

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New Delhi, Aug 16 (ANI): The Chief Justice of India, K.G.Balakrishnan, on Sunday expressed concern over the chronic shortage of judicial officers and said it was hindering the efforts to overcome an ever increasing number of pending cases.

Addressing the conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts in the national capital Balakrishnan said there were structural obstacles, which discourage talented young law graduates from joining the judicial services.

According to a report, over 17 percent posts of judicial officers are vacant in the subordinate judiciary. The various state governments filled 2,783 out of 16,946 sanctioned posts at subordinate level.

Balakrishnan highlighted a compelling need for state governments and High Courts to work in close coordination to fill up the vacancies in a time-bound manner, and said the judicial system needed to be expanded by at least five times in order to meet the judge-to-population ratio of developed countries.

The CJI expressed hope that the establishment of Gram Nyayalaya (Village Courts) would bring about a substantial change to the reach and quality of the justice delivery system.

"There is tremendous potential in gram nyayalaya (village courts) scheme since the intention is to reduce the costs borne by litigants in approaching courts located at district centres," the CJI said while adding the underlying philosophy is to bring justice at the doorsteps of rural citizens.

Incentives were required to be given for attracting talented lawyers to join as judicial officers for these village-level courts, he added.

Balakrishnan also stressed the need for deliberating upon financial commitments needed for the establishment of village courts as well as service condition of the judicial officers.

Taking a note of the arrears of cases, the CJI said that the higher pendency did not necessarily mean that the courts were becoming accessible to all sections of society.

There were 52,592 cases pending before the Supreme Court, over four million cases in High Courts and more than 27.1 million cases in Trial Courts.

Balakrishnan called for resorting to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods like Lok Adalats, mediation, negotiated settlements to reduce the burden of pending cases and for their quick disposal. (ANI)

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