KARNATAKA

Speedy trial, people's right: CJ

DAVANGERE JAN. 25. The Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Justice N.K. Jain, has said that speedy trial is part of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty, and delay in disposal of cases, particularly criminal cases, not only breeds litigation but encourages a potential offender to resort to crime without fear of law.

Inaugurating the building of the Fast-track Court here today, he said it was essential to dispose of criminal cases without delay, and this was possible only if police, the prosecuting agency, the members of the Bar, and judicial officers acted in coordination.

Mr. Jain said that to sustain the faith of the people in courts, expeditious dispensation of justice was essential. In a large number of criminal cases, the undertrial prisoners were waiting trial for many years.

Police and law officers had a duty to monitor the pending cases, he added.

The Chief Justice stressed the importance of Lok Adalats, and said that in the normal course, cases did not end in the trial court, as either or both parties preferred an appeal.

Due to the number of pending cases, appellate courts were not in a position to take up cases for a considerable period. Therefore, settlement of cases through Lok Adalats was an alternative, he added.

The judiciary would do its best to see that the litigants got the maximum advantage, Mr. Jain said, and added that the public had full faith in democracy and in the judiciary.

Because of the awareness among the public of their rights, more people were approaching courts for redressing their grievances. As a result, filing of cases in the courts had increased, he said, and noted that several steps were being taken to reduce the number of pending cases in all courts, especially those of senior citizens.

Mr. Jain said that the High Court and the State Government had taken note of the fact that many courts were functioning in dilapidated buildings, and they had taken steps to construct new buildings where necessary, despite financial constraints. He was hopeful that the Government would realise the problem being faced by the judiciary in the absence of sufficient buildings, and it would release funds for construction and for providing other essential infrastructure.

Justice H.L. Dattu, Judge of the High Court and Administrative Judge of Davangere District, said judicial officers should be given comprehensive training, and they should be re-oriented before their appointment to Fast-track courts.

Mr. Justice Dattu called upon advocates to discharge their duties efficiently, and ensure that there was no delay in dispensation of justice. He appealed to them to help courts to clear huge backlog of cases before people lost faith in the judiciary.

S.S. Mallikarjun, Minister of State for Sports and Youth Services and Minister for Davangere District, promised to speak to the Law Minister and secure approval for buildings and a compound wall for the District Court Complex.

B.S. Reddy, District and Sessions Judge, Davangere, welcomed the gathering.