Cabinet nod to Law Ministry proposal on bringing down pendency

New Delhi: Aiming at reducing delay in justice delivery, the Cabinet on Thursday approved a Law Ministry proposal to operationalise a mission mode programme for developing infrastructure and bringing accountability to reduce pendency and dispose of an estimated 2.5 crore cases lying in the courts.

The Law Ministry`s proposal to set up a mission directorate under the Department of Justice – which deals with appointment and transfer of members of higher judiciary – is part of its `National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms`.

As part of the proposal, the Ministry plans to share 75 per cent of the grants involved in developing the infrastructure in states to bring down spiralling number of cases, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here.

For the Northeast region, the Centre will bear 90 per cent of the expenses. So far, the Centre used to share 50 per cent of the grants.

The Centre will bear an estimated expenditure of Rs 5,510 crore for the next five years to achieve the objective by 2016.

Besides the directorate, an advisory council and a governing council will be set up to oversee the implementation of the mission which includes increasing accountability, re- engineering procedures and improving infrastructure of the lower judiciary.

The move is part of the `vision statement` adopted by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers in October 2009.

The statement contained a road map for improving justice delivery and legal reforms and steps to reduce pendency in courts from 15 to three years by 2012. Now the deadline has been extended to 2016.

While the programme was operationalised today, it had received in-principle approval of the Union Cabinet in December, 2009.