By Nusrat Sidiq
SRINAGAR: With the superannuation of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar on January 29, the J&K High Court is left with only half the strength of judges with eight positions out of the total 17 vacant. Most of these vacancies have been pending since 2007.
The dearth of judges leads to a pile up of cases at the court already overburdened with a huge backlog dating back to the 90s, experts said.
According to Registrar Judicial, J&K High Court (Srinagar wing) Mohammad Yousuf Wani, the vacancies need to filled up at the earliest to let the court resolve cases which have been pending “since 1990s and earlier”.
“Two or four judges cannot handle thousands of cases. There are eighth judges on roll but we need more and there are vacancies left, government must take necessary measures to fill the vacancies,” Wani said.
Wajid Ahmad, an advocate practicing at the Srinagar wing of the High Court said, “For today we have three judges on bench, Justice Alok Aradhey, Justice Ali Mohammad Magray and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal who are about to hear 400 cases in between them. But I don’t think that all cases will be heard.”
People attending to their cases at the court appear equally pessimistic, with some complaining that the cases remain stuck in “loopholes”.”
G N Shaheen, advocate at the High Court said that delay in delivery of justice amounted to injustice.
“People are facing a lot of problems, cases are piling up. Since 1990 cases are pending in the court, which need urgent hearing, for example, a person who has killed his friend in cold blood moves fearlessly because that case is pending for years and in a way is injustice to the victim. This is why manpower is important,” said Shaheen.
Altaf Haqani another advocate rued that, while there were so many cases that need an urgent hearing but “unfortunately the system working in the state is not up to the mark.”
J&K High Court has a sanctioned strength of 16 (11 permanent and 5 additional) judges, besides the Chief Justice.