NEW DELHI, Sept 23: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Sunday asked lawyers to help courts reduce the huge backlong of cases, estimated to be about 27.5 million in subordinated courts, about 4 million in high courts and 50,000 in the Supreme Court.
She asked the advocates to discourage the tendency to seek adjournments through a self-regulatory mechanism instituted by the bar.
“We must ponder over what the bar and the bench can do to reduce the pending cases,” she said at a seminar here on ‘Celebration of 50 Years of Indian Advocates Act and its Relevancy in the International Context’.
According to available reports, more than 50,000 cases in the Supreme Court and more than 4 million cases in the high courts and over 27.5 million cases in subordinate courts are awaiting disposal.
“While this issue is being examined by the judiciary, the responsibility of advocates in ensuring speeding justice cannot be undermined,” the speaker said at the event organised by the Indian Law Institute.
“When law suits become inevitable, it has to be ensured that justice is delivered within a reasonable time. Request for frequent adjournments increases the period of litigation.”
“The bar must consider developing a self-regulatory mechanism for discouraging this tendency and for counselling both, the lawyers and clients, to preclude adjournments, except in unavoidable circumstances,” she said.
Reflecting on the constitutional guarantee of right to approach courts for grievances, the speaker said access to justice, especially for the socially and economically disadvantaged, was a critical issue that must be addressed on priority.
Noting that the cost of litigation had increased exponentially over time, she said the bar should spearhead a movement for generating awareness through legal literacy campaigns and champion the cause of the disadvantaged through free legal aid.
Meira Kumar appealed to senior advocates to take up pro bono (for public good) litigation and the bar to encourage alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation, arbitration and conciliation through institutions like lok adalat and nyaya panchayats. IANS