Kochi, Nov 3 (UNI) Observing that the pendency of cases in courts will lead to a situation where prisons will become old-age homes, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said the Government has proposed to set up 7,000 new courts for speedy disposal of cases.
Delivering the inaugural address at the 'High Court Day' celebrations to mark the 'Golden Jubilee' of the Kerala High Court here, Justice Balakrishnan said the Government had proposed to set up 7,000 new courts so that judicial services were available to the people down to the taluk level.
The Government had earlier proposed to set up Panchayat Courts, but this had not found favour with the judiciary which felt that there should be full-fledged courts with legally trained judicial officers.
Justice Balakrishnan said as of January 2007, there were 2.52 crore cases pending in various courts in the country and the number had risen to 2.56 crore now.
In the Supreme Court, the pending cases numbered almost 43,000.
In some High Courts, the situation was so bad that it took almost 17 to 18 years for criminal appeals to be disposed off. ''By then, the accused become old. If the situation is not resolved, our prisons will become old-age homes'', he added.
Stressing the need for continuing training of judges, the Chief Justice said there was a proposal to start a retreat for apex court judges at the National Judicial Academy.
Chief Justice of Kerala High Court H L Dattu said the High Court had disposed off 70,000 cases this year while 66,000 new cases were filed. The total number of pending cases in the High Court was 1.17 lakh while in the subordinate courts, the situation was ''alarming'' with more than nine lakh cases pending.
Justice K S Radhakrishnan, Advocate General C P Sudhakara Prasad, Bar Council of India Chairman S Gopakumaran Nair and High Court Registrar General S S Satheesachandran were present on the occasion.