Increase courts, judges, hike retirement age: Law Commission

New Delhi : The Law Commission Friday recommended setting up of additional courts, increasing retirement age of subordinate court judges and recruitment of new judges as some of the steps needed to deal with the perennial problem of delays and pendency of cases plaguing the judicial system.

The Law Commission outlined these priorities in its report to the government on “Manpower Planning in Judiciary: A Blue Print”, submitted by panel chairman, Justice (retd.) A.P.Shah that was submitted to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

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Speaking on the occasion, Prasad said that the report would guide the government in overcoming the shortage of judges.

“Efforts made by the government for filling up vacancies of judges and setting up new courts would soon lead to curbing of delays and timely delivery of justice to citizens,” he said.

He said the government has already written to Chief Justice of India R.M.Lodha for filling up the existing vacancies in high courts and subordinate courts.

Assuring that the government would be giving serious consideration to the recommendations, Prasad said that an “in principle decision has already been taken to increase the number of judges by 20 per cent” and six States – Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Odisha and Punjab – have already consented to the proposal.

Justice Shah said that the commission has “tried to use scientific formula to the extent possible to estimate the number of judges needed in the country”.

Apart from increasing judge strength, “many other measures have to be undertaken for reducing delays, including the application of good judicial management practices such as putting into place timelines and performance benchmarks”.

It also recommended increasing the retirement age of judges of subordinate judiciary to 62 years.

Among other measures it called were special morning and evening courts to deal with traffic/ police cases which constitute 38.7 percent of the institutional and 37.4 percent of all pending cases in the last three years before the subordinate judicial services.

It recommended that the “recent law graduates may be appointed for short durations, e.g. 3 years, to preside over these special traffic courts”.