The pendency issue was highlighted by Justice PV Kunhikrishnan in a judgment in a case that was filed in July 2010. The case was considered by a judge in November 2010 and was assigned a hearing in February 2012. When it finally came up for hearing in November last year, the government pleader sought time and in February this year, the counsel sought time. The case came up before Justice Kunhikrishnan on September 29 and it was heard and disposed at the fifth hearing, on November 10.
In the judgment, the court pointed out that the workman in this case was fighting for his eligible benefits for more than 25 years. He approached the court at the age of 61 and he would be in his 70s now, the court said.
“This is the fate of a workman who is forced to contest cases for a major part of his life for his livelihood. An introspection by the judiciary is also necessary because the first writ petition filed by the workman was pending before this court for the last 13 years. I had the opportunity to sit in the old writ petition hearing jurisdiction in which I disposed several old cases and one of the writ petitions disposed this month was filed in the year 2003. That means some of the writ petitions are pending before this court for about 20 years. I am forced to say that there are some latches on the part of the registry also for this sorry state of affairs. It is the duty of the registry to report before the jurisdictional roaster judge about the old cases, after getting permission from the Honourable Chief Justice,” the court said in the judgment.
The registrar general and registrar (judiciary) should bring the issue of pendency of old writ petitions before the Chief Justice. Otherwise, people will lose faith in the judiciary, the judgment stated.