Village courts to be set up, chief justice says

SHIMLA - Nearly 4,000 village courts are to be set up in India to help tackle the growing number of pending cases in courts, Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said Sunday.

‘Nearly 4,000 gram nayalayas would be soon set up across the country. A bill will be introduced in parliament and necessary legislation will be in place in a year or two,’ he said at a function here.

Justice Balakrishnan stressed the need for increasing the number of courts in the country. ‘There is a need for increasing the number by 10 to 15 percent to dispose off a huge number of accumulated cases.

‘In some states, the backlog is as high as 7-800,000 cases… A large number of vacancies of judicial officials are also adding to the problem,’ he said.

For cutting down the backlog and reducing the load on the judiciary, he asked the Bar to come forward and called for a change in the style of the judiciary’s functioning.

On the setting up of evening courts in some places, Justice Balakrishnan said the apex court’s initiative of starting such courts in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad was quite successful.

‘We now are planning to start such courts in other states too,’ he said.

He expressed concern over the failure of some states to implement the recommendations of the First National Judicial Pay Commission. The Supreme Court had asked the states and union territories to implement this with effect from April 1, 2003.

Justice Jagdish Bhalla, chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court, said the government had agreed to open a Law University in the hill state.

‘The decision would contribute towards providing quality law education in the state,’ he said.

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