In a dig at every political party, the Supreme Court Friday said that ‘no government wants judiciary to be strong’, and cited the paltry allocation of 0.76 percent of the national budget for the judicial functioning to buttress its point.
Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly said that unless the country had sufficient number of courts, ‘it will take four years or more for framing of the charges after the filing of the charge-sheet and still longer for the conclusion of trial’.
The court said that committee after committee was being set up to look into the judicial functioning but without result. Judge Ganguly clarified that the opinion expressed by him were personal.
Referring to the 50 percent vacancies in the courts all over India at all levels, the court said the situation may improve if the central government raises budgetary allocation.
But there would still be a shortage of good judicial officers to man them, the judges said.
The court noted that it did not have enough manpower to man the judicial infrastructure.
‘Adjournments have become a cancer at all levels’ of judicial functioning, Justice Singhvi said, expressing the court’s anguish over the state of affairs in the judiciary.
The judges moaned that the system had become ‘sick’.
In a clear demonstration of its anxiety to set things right, the court said that a stage might come when it would have to issue directions to set the house in order.
‘We have to issue the direction. It may appear unusual but it has to be done,’ Justice Singhvi said.
The concerns expressed by the court were in continuation of similar remarks expressed during the last hearing Feb 9 when the court reminded the Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium of the vision document which talked of setting up of 15,000 courts to wipe out the backlog of cases.
Saying ‘Mr. Solicitor General, we don’t want to embarrass you,’ the judges reminded him that he was one of the authors of the vision document that was released with great fanfare in October 2009.
The observations came in the wake of the submission by Subramanium on the trial of four accused in tapping former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s telephones on the basis of fabricated authorization letters from police and Delhi government’s Home Department.
The dig came after it was told that it took four years to frame charges in the Amar Singh case
The court is hearing an application by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking vacation of the court’s 2006 order restraining the media from publishing Amar Singh tapes.