Top judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Sunday said it was important to expedite justice delivery in courts and avoid unnecessary adjournment of cases.
The judges were speaking during a day-long conference organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Judicial Academy for Judicial Officers of Kashmir. The conference titled "Delay and Arrears–Problems and Solutions: Strategy and Directions" was organized under the supervision of Chief Patron of State Judicial Academy and Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar, Committee of Judges and State Judicial Academy comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar as Chairman and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal as Member. Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir, Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, Justice Ali Muhammad Magray, Justice BansiLal Bhat and Justice B S Walia addressed the Judicial Officers and suggested ways and means to overcome delay and arrears. M K Hanjura, Registrar General, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir presented a brief overview of the Conference.
All the District and Sessions Judges, Sub-Judges and Munsiffs of Kashmir province participated in the Conference.
The deliberations were held in the backdrop of large pendency of cases which are more than five years old and to devise the methods to ensure speedy justice and access to justice for all.
Justice B S Walia, in his speech, discussed in detail the problems leading to delay in cases. He said that people come to courts to get justice as quickly as possible and as judicial officials everybody owes a duty to ensure the justice as quickly as possible. He called for adhering to timelines in everything including filing of written statements. He expressed concern over the frequent adjournments of cases on mere asking of lawyers. He said that affidavits should not include unnecessary details. This he said will make everything upto the point and expedite the justice delivery.
Justice BansiLal Bhat said that several studies have been made to trace the causes of such delays and many remedial measures have been recommended too. He said that the constitutional goal is to provide social, economic and political justice to people and ways and means should be devised within the available resources to achieve the same. He asked the officials to not let unnecessary adjournments sabotage the process of speedy justice delivery. He called for adopting Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in addition of LokAdalats and Judicial Settlements to lessen the burden of cases.
Justice Ali Muhammad Magray said that delays may culminate into rendering injustice. Terming Judicial Officers as most competent, he said that they cannot allow cases to pile up and innovative ways should be adopted to move forward. He said that even small steps like being punctual and never allowing cases to be heard in chambers, can play a vital role in curbing delays. He said that speedy trial is a right of people and delay constitutes antithesis to constitution. He said that Judicial Officers should fix targets for themselves and adhere to it strictly. He also called for encouragement to ADR.
Justice Muzafffar Hussain Attar said that a judge has an added responsibility because they "discharge divine service." He said that it is these judicial officers who "infuse life in law books for the benefit of common man." Justice Muhammad Yaqub Mir said that there are many factors for the delay of cases but there is also an opportunity to take remedial measures. He said that Judges should always be alert to avoid delay in delivery of justice and continuously update his or her knowledge that can expedite justice delivery. He said that mediation should also be promoted as a way to speedy justice.
He said that performance of Judicial Officers vis-à-vis resolving cases judiciously and speedily would reflect in their APRs. He said Judicial Officers have to take control and dedicate themselves fully to clear all pendency. Principal District and Session Judge Srinagar Rashid Ali Dar said that action plan to expedite the cases is the need of the hour. He said the priority would be to deliver speedy justice in cases related to senior citizens, fairer sex and under trials. Abdur Rashid Malik, Director, J&K State Judicial Academy delivered vote of thanks and highlighted the different priorities of J&K State Judicial Academy to enrich the Judicial Officers to firmly deal with the delay and arrears.