As the number of pending cases in Courts nears 5-crore, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on August 20, 2022 said if a judge disposes of 50 cases, 100 new litigations are filed as people are more aware now and approach courts to settle disputes. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the Government is committed to make the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) more empowered and responsive and implement measures that were required in this direction.
Addressing a seminar titled ‘Introspection: Armed Forces Tribunal’, organized by Armed Forces Tribunal Principal Bench Bar Association on Saturday, Mr. Singh said that domain-specific Tribunals were set up to deal with diverse cases and clear pending cases. “Judiciary is a strong pillar of democracy, and judicial officers, and lawyers are in turn pillars of this judicial system. People knock on the doors of the judiciary when all other options were closed to them and sound Judiciary delivery systems were the basis for “Suraj” or good governance,” he stated.
Calling for a balance between ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ and ‘Justice hurried is justice buried’ to lessen the burden of pendency on the judicial system in general and the AFT in particular, Mr. Singh said timely delivery of justice will not only reduce the burden on AFT but will also reinforce the confidence of our soldiers in the system.
Mr. Singh noted that in the India the Armed Forces Tribunal has both Original and Appellate Jurisdiction whereas even today in some developed countries such as U.S. and U.K. they only have appellate jurisdiction. It is very significant as the AFT is an important forum for redressal of grievances of armed forces personnel, ex-servicemen, and their families, he added.
Stating that over 4.83 crore cases are pending in courts across the country, Mr. Rijiju said the government is tapping technology to reduce pendency in courts. While over four crore cases are pending in lower courts, the Supreme Court has over 72,000 pending cases.
In this regard, he said that the proposed law on mediation will also help bring down the number of litigations in courts with a renewed focus on alternate dispute resolution mechanism. Mr. Rijiju said that there should be "no comparison" between pendency of cases in India and other countries as "we have a different set of problems".
The law minister assured that his ministry is willing to offer any help to the AFT in quick delivery of justice.
(with inputs from PTI)