SC: We keep no record of pending judgments

The apex court reply baffles RTI applicant

danish

Danish Raza | February 1, 2010


A view of the majestic Supreme Court building at night
A view of the majestic Supreme Court building at night

Believe it or not, the apex court doesn't keep record of things that the high courts do as a matter of routine.

This came to light after an RTI applicant wanted to know the number of cases for which hearings have been completed but the judgments are pending. The Supreme Court said it did not keep such records.

L.K. Batra, a Noida resident, had sought to know in December 2009 the number of cases pending for judgments where arguments have been heard from December 2007. He was told that "the Supreme Court does not hold a record of the number cases where judgments are reserved. To obtain any information on sub judice matters, one should refer to Supreme Court Rules, 1966. Judgments are also available on the Court’s website."

When Governance Now decided to cross-check with additional registrar Raj Pal Arora, who had replied to Batra, he repeated himself: “We don’t have any such data with us. If someone wants to know the status of a particular case, he can see it on the website."

Reacting to the apex court's reply, senior lawyer K.T.S. Tulsi said: “This is absurd. They have all the details of every case with them. They are trying to withhold it."

Interestingly, Batra had sought answer for the same set of questions to the Delhi High Court which promptly delivered the relevant information. The high court wrote back saying there were 6, 4 and 367 such cases for 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

On December 11, 2009, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan had said that pendency of cases would lead people to revolt and the legal system to crumble. "We cannot have this much of delay at any cost. It should be reduced," he had said while attending a conference in Bangalore.

But it seems his observations have been completely ignored by the apex court officials.

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