Reforms galore at Supreme Court; Separate Courts for Tax and Criminal Matters

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In what may be the first whiff of judicial/court reforms, the Supreme Court, on Monday decided to tackle the considerable backlog of cases and arrears pending in country’s top court. The apex court has finalised and implemented a proposal which called for the establishment of two different courts in order to deal with old and pending criminal cases as well matters concerning taxation.

The Chief Justice of India, H.L. Dattu, on Monday announced the decision to set up 2 deal separately with old criminal and tax matters. The Courts will begin their proceedings from March 9th, according to Mr. M.K. Hanjura, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, who was addressing reporters.

Currently, the Supreme Court boasts or rather laments a sizeable pendency of around 11,137 criminal matters, along with another 10,843 taxation cases awaiting disposal. The decision to set up separate courts is a step in the right direction for ensuring proper and quick disposal of pending matters. The Courts will be inaugurated post the Holi break, said Mr.Hanjura. It is noteworthy that it wasn’t much long back that the Attorney General had asked the Court to introspect instead of berating the government and undertake measures to resolve the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court.

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While the establishment of separate courts bodes welcome tidings for litigants and the hoi polloi, the Supreme Court administration has gone a step further to please lawyers and litigants alike. Almost in the spirit of Holi bonanza, Mr.Hanjura announced that a fully functional health clinic will soon be established as and when the Delhi government approves and then, provides the infrastructure for the same. The said health clinic shall cater to lawyers and litigants, and will be set up in Delhi coming as a much needed relief for all those in need of free or emergency health care, while working at the Court.

However, the bounties didn’t just end at the prospective health clinic. The Supreme Court Registrar had another surprise in store, for regulars on the court premises and those visiting as well. The Court Registrar claimed that there is “good news” in store for those who desire free internet through Wi-Fi. The Supreme Court has decided to provide free Wi-Fi connectivity to all in need. Coming as a much needed relief, provision for free and over-encompassing net connection would greatly help lawyers, litigants, journalists and other persons who either work at the Court regularly or are frequent visitors.

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by Siddhartha Singh.