24130 corruption related cases pending

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (UNI) More than 24,000 corruption-related cases are pending in Indian trial courts for which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has advocated creating special courts.

A count at the end of 2007 showed at least 24,130 cases under Prevention of Corruption Act pending in Indian trial courts.

Dr Singh told a joint conference of Chief Ministers of various States and Chief Justices of High Courts at Vigyan Bhavan yesterday that the suggestion came from India's Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.

''I agree that there is urgent need to do so,'' the Prime Minister said at the conference, an annual exercise aimed at ''better administration of justice'' across India.

The event was preceded by a two-day conference at which the Chief Justices of India's 21 High Courts held that as far as possible Special Judges appointed under the Act try such cases on a day-to-day basis.

''It is also necessary to ensure that Special Judges appointed under Prevention of Corruption Act deal only with corruption cases,'' the Chief Justices held.

Concern-- both expert and lay -- over India's justice delivery system has grown rapidly in the past decade or so, given huge pendencies contributing to inordinate delays.

Notes on Agenda Items before delegates warned that unless ''something'' is done about delays in justice delivery and huge case arrears, ''the whole system would get crushed under its weight.'' Indian courts have close to 30 million cases pending and while experts have pressed to quadrupling the number of judges, even sanctioned posts remain vacant.

The 39-page Agenda Notes for the joint conference did not use the word 'corruption,' which figured eminently though when the Chief Justices met.

As Dr Singh put it, ''apart from pendency and delayed justice, corruption is another challenge we face both in government and the juiciary.

''The Chief Justice of India has written to me suggesting that we create Special Courts to deal with corruption cases. I agree that there is urgent need to do so. This will instill greater confidence in our justice delivery system, at home and abroad.'' The Chief Justices resolved that ''Special Judges appointed under Prevention of Corruption Act shall deal primarily with corruption cases and as far as possible hold trial of such cases on a day-to-day basis.'' UNI MJ HS AS1302

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