UP’s additional advocate general Garima Prasad informed a bench of Justices M R Shah and M M Sundresh that on the report from visiting officials, the UP administration had decided to attempt improvements on the “Gujarat Model’ and adopt that in the construction of model court complexes in 10 districts under a pilot project. “All clearances to the pilot project would be sanctioned within 15 days,” Prasad assured the bench on behalf of the state.
Justice Shah, whose parent HC is Gujarat, said the state was able to develop “impressive judicial infrastructure” because of constant monitoring of the projects by “we Judges” as well as whole-hearted cooperation from the state government. The bench said that as in the case of Gujarat district court complexes, it would be ideal to have a common design for all new court complexes in UP and attempt should be made to house all types of courts – civil, criminal, family, POCSO, Commercial, and special – within one complex.
The bench then focussed on the huge vacancy of trial judges in district courts, which seriously impeded speedy delivery of decisions. As of November 1, the district courts have a sanctioned strength of 3,638 judges, of which 1,163 are vacant. In the class-II and IV categories also the district courts have thousands of vacancies.
Justices Shah and Sundresh said the Allahabad HC must undertake a study to find cases per judge in the district courts and attempt to limit the number of cases per judge to 2,000-2,500. Though the UP government agreed to immediately honour any request from the HC for increase in the sanctioned strength of trial judges, the SC told the HC that it must first endeavour to fill the sanctioned posts which are lying vacant. “What is the use of seeking to increase the sanctioned strength, when there exists huge vacancies,” it said.
The bench appointed the law secretary of the UP government as the nodal officer for coordination between the government and the HC for speedy implementation of the plans for construction of modern court complexes encompassing all-categories of courts at one place with adequate facilities and amenities for litigants, judges, lawyers and judicial staff. “The law secretary is directed to act as nodal officer and be the bridge between the government and the HC to facilitate resolution of differences, if any,” it said.
The SC also asked the judicial infrastructure committee of the HC headed by the chief justice to hold periodic meetings to take stock of the progress in construction of new court complexes and pending projects. SC posted the matter for further hearing on December 2.