RTI plea reveals difference in educational qualifications of court staff

Information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 has revealed that the Madras High Court Bench here was grappling with the problem of staff shortage.

The data shows that as many as many as six out of eleven posts of Assistant Registrar including the one in charge of RTI Act, were lying vacant for long.

Replying to an application made by N. Muthuvelsamy, an advocate, the Deputy Registrar (Administration)-cum- Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) of the Bench has also stated that three out of eight Sub-Assistant Registrars had been posted on ‘Other Duty’ at the Principal Seat of the High Court in Chennai at the cost of lack of full-time leadership in their departments in the Bench.

As per the information provided on December 26, the staff strength in the Criminal Section (which deals with filing of criminal cases) was 22, Judicial Department- 34, Appeal Examiners Section- 21, Writ Section- 24, Writ (Appeal Examiners) Section- 15, Court Officers (in-charge of conducing court proceedings) Section- 27 and Current Section (in-charge of issuing certified order copies)- 39.

Giving particulars about all the 545 staff members of the High Court with their names, designations and educational qualifications as sought for by the RTI applicant, the APIO said that only 13 of the 62 individuals working as Court Officers, Section Officers and Appeal Examiners possessed a degree in law.

Ten of them had a degree in administrative law and the others were graduates in other disciplines.

The APIO also stated that while those with a mere pass in Plus Two and Standard X examinations were working as Senior Typist and Typist, individuals with postgraduate and graduate degrees were working as Office Assistants and Watch and Ward staff along with those who were completely uneducated.

While one Record Clerk had passed only Standard VI, the other had completed his M.Phil. Since the applicant had also sought for information about the cases disposed of by the Bench between January 1, 2010 and September 10, 2012, seven days before he made the application, the APIO said that out of a total of 19,867 civil cases filed during the period, 8,749 were disposed of leaving behind a pendency of 11,118 cases.

The disposal was higher with respect to criminal cases as the Bench disposed of 46,412 cases out of a total of 53,854 cases filed during the period.

About 7,442 cases were left pending. In so far as writ petitions were concerned, 42,515 cases were filed during the period and of them 26,789 were disposed of. About 15,726 of them remained pending.

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