Pending cases, vacant posts of judges a challenge for law minister Rijiju | India News

NEW DELHI: Kiren Rijiju, the newly appointed law minister, took charge of the ministry on Thursday amid serious concerns of rising pendency of cases in courts, which have crossed 4.5 crore as on July 7, and huge vacancies across the three-tier judicial system.
Among the major challenges before Rijiju, say officials, is to fill up large vacancies across the Supreme Court, 25 High Courts and 24,000 subordinate courts. While the Supreme Court has 21% judges’ vacancies — seven of the 34 sanctioned posts are vacant currently — the 25 High Courts in the country have 41% vacancies with a record 449 posts of judges to be filled up.
The situation is far worse in the subordinate and district judiciary where more than 5,000 posts of judicial officers have remained vacant for several years now. The highest 3.9 crore cases are pending in the subordinate and district courts and have been a major concern for the government which is trying to improve India’s ranking of the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
Senior Law ministry officials met the minister briefly soon after he took charge of the ministry. However, detailed department-wise meetings have been scheduled starting Friday when the minister will be apprised of the immediate challenges and the ‘to do list’.
In view of the recent adverse orders of the apex court on judicial appointments, where the government has been served with a deadline to clear all pending appointments, the newly appointed minister has to concentrate on the task at hand and also win the trust of the higher judiciary.
Over the last one-and-half year of the pandemic and intermittent lockdowns, the pendency of cases has risen from 3.2 crore to more than 4.5 crore, as on July 1. Majority of them, over 3.9 crore cases, are pending in the subordinate and district judiciary where connectivity has been one of the issues that has hindered migration of regular courts to virtual hearings.
Rijiju spoke about bringing transparency in the functioning of his ministry and assured reporters of being totally approachable so that it is aware of what the ministry is doing and how it is functioning.
The minister said: “Everything can be handled with proper guidance, proper understanding of the subjects and application of mind”. He said, to realise the vision of the PM of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the country needs a robust legal system.

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