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State holds back creationof 10 posts of HC judges

KOCHI: Millions of litigants are denied speedy justice at the High Court of Kerala as the cash-strapped State government is holding back the recommendation to create 10 more posts of judges.

The government’s reluctance to create more posts in higher judiciary comes at a time when the pendency of cases has been increasing. It is estimated that over 10 lakh cases are pending in the High Court alone. Another 14 lakh cases are pending in lower courts.

At present, there are 38 judges in the High Court, including the seven who were sworn in in the second week of this month. With the appointment of new judges, their number in the higher judiciary has reached an all-time high in the State.

The proposal for increasing the strength of the Bench has been pending before the State government for over a year. The files are awaiting clearance from the Finance Department, sources said.

The High Court had initiated the proceedings for increasing the strength of the higher judiciary during the tenure of Manjula Chellur as Chief Justice. The court had given its assent to the proposal after the Central government communicated its willingness to increase the number. While approving the proposal, the court had informed the government that infrastructure facilities available with the old High Court building should be used for the new judges.

No responseAfter the clearance from the High Court, it is the responsibility of the State government to take up the case with the Union Law Ministry. However, the State government had not responded to the suggestion till now, which could amount to denial of justice to millions of litigants, sources said.

Earlier, posts were sanctioned in High Courts considering the number of cases disposed of.

However, the criteria were later changed to the pendency of cases.

The speed of disposal of cases depended on the nature of the individual case and also the style of functioning of the judges. No judge could be asked to dispose of cases that came before him within a specific time frame, judicial sources said.
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