Kaithal: A judge in this Haryana town created a record of sorts when he settled 148 cases in a single day, close on the heels of a peer in Andhra Pradesh figuring in the headlines for deciding 111 cases in one day.
This time it was the turn of Additional District and Sessions Judge A.K. Shori, who is known for speedy trials. He set the benchmark Wednesday in a development that comes against the backdrop of a huge backlog of cases and slow trials in Indian courts.
Around 137 of the cases settled by Shori pertained to land-related issues. The other cases were related to motor accident claims, Hindu Marriage Act, criminal revisions and civil appeals.
Shori refused to talk to media about the accomplishment.
"Judge Shori is known for speedy trials and quick decisions. During the last month, he had given verdicts on around 225 cases and decided 87 cases on a single day Aug 1. This approach is very necessary to solve the problem of an increasing backlog in our courts," said a senior official of Kaithal district bar association here Thursday.
"Shori has surpassed the record of JVV Satyanarayana Murthy, a civil judge of Guntur (in Andhra Pradesh), who had decided 111 cases on a single day a few days back. This would also motivate other judges of the country to give early decisions."
The development has evoked a mixed response among lawyers and social activists.
"Speedy justice is obviously the need of the hour but only one or two judges doing this will not help to improve the situation. We need more number of such judges to follow this and we support this initiative," Ranjan Lakhanpal, a leading lawyer of Punjab and Haryana High Court and a human rights activist, said.
However, at the same time Lakhanpal added a word of caution.
"We need majority of our judges to do this to bring a proper balance in the system. But if a judge starts deciding so many cases in bulk, on a single day, then it could also adversely affect the judgment," he noted.
Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, another Chandigarh-based lawyer, said: "Yes, we need speedy justice in our country but we cannot compromise on the quality of verdict delivered. Deciding 148 cases on a single day is really difficult; it definitely undermines the judgment and would raise many questions later on."
Young lawyers were, however, quite enthusiastic.
"A judge`s job is to decide cases and that is what we all expect him to do in a courtroom. There are many simple cases, which are deliberately delayed by the lawyers. We are very happy and salute judge Shori for this brave effort," Sandeep Gandhi, a 26-year-old lawyer practising in the high court here, said.
"There is so much of pressure on Indian judiciary and such efforts could help to solve the problem to some extent. This is an exemplary step before other judges and will also help to strengthen the fast fading trust of common man in our courts," Parmod Sharma, who runs NGO Yuvsatta, said.