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Push for time-bound disposal of cases

New Delhi, June 14: Delhi High Court has mandated lower courts to go in for time-bound disposal of cases to deal with the steadily mounting backlog.

It has issued a slew of directions to hasten justice delivery, among which is one to criminal courts to hear at least two murder cases a month. “The endeavour shall be to gradually reduce the average trial period of each case (both civil and criminal) to two-three years,” the instructions issued a fortnight ago said.

The lower courts have been asked to focus on faster disposal of certain types of cases, including those involving murder, sexual and economic offences, drug possession and civil cases related to guardianship of children.

Criminal cases take an average of eight to ten years to be tried at the trial court level. Civil cases take much longer.

The instructions have come at a time some 22,829 cases are pending before Delhi’s lower courts, including 1,766 murder cases in sessions courts. The corresponding figure for civil courts is 43,024 cases.

All courts have been asked to fix a time span to complete trial proceedings and stick to it. “Each officer must fix a time-frame for each stage of trial (such as completing pleadings, framing charges, recording evidence) and must ensure adherence by all concerned,” the court said. Repeated adjournments sought to delay trial should not be allowed, the instructions said.

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