Judiciary disposes of over 1L cases since virus outbreak - ECAS Punjab

Judiciary disposes of over 1L cases since virus outbreak

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14

Despite the initial hiccups, the subordinate judiciary in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh managed to dispose of, on an average, around 850 cases daily since the courts went into restricted functioning in March last week following the Covid outbreak.

Available information suggests 2,69,069 cases were filed from March 24 to August 10 in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Of these, as many as 1,01,801 cases were disposed of.

The High Court also disposed of, on an average, around 100 cases daily through video-conferencing during the period. No less than 35,257 cases were filed in the High Court, of which 11,484 cases were disposed of.

In Punjab, 1,22,040 cases were filed in the district courts during the period, while 49,245 cases were disposed of. In Haryana, 1,07,424 cases were filed, while the disposal stood at 39,661 cases.

In the UT district courts, 1,411 of the 4,348 cases filed were disposed of. "The number of cases filed and disposed of during the period is amongst the highest in the country," a senior High Court official asserted. The numbers are significant, considering the fact that the High Court was hearing just about 10 cases a day through video-conferencing even after a lapse of about 50 days from the time it imposed restrictions on its functioning following the outbreak. Even till the first week of May, the High Court was hearing just about 100 cases a day, virtually turning it into a "denial of justice" phase.

Over a period of time, the High Court restructured and re-organised the entire system, with more than 30 judges holding virtual courts daily. As of now, four Division Benches and about 29 single Benches are functioning on a rotation basis, taking the total number of cases being listed for hearing daily to about 1,000.

This despite the fact that Covid has hit the judiciary hard during the past few days. Latest information suggests that two more High Court officials, one in the communication cell and another in the accounts branch, tested positive. The accounts branch has, as such, been closed for three days. As many as 12 officials have tested positive in the Faridkot District Courts and nine in Pathankot District Courts.

More than 70 officers and staff members have been quarantined across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh since July 13. Prior to this, more than 500 judicial officers, their families and staff in the two states and Chandigarh were quarantined. The judicial officers who have tested positive include a district and sessions judge. Three additional district and sessions judges and judicial magistrates have also tested positive.

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