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In what could be a first, Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madras High Court has come out with a report card of sorts, detailing his case disposal rate over the two years he has served as a judge.
In a letter dated June 27, Justice GR Swaminathan reveals that he has disposed of a total of 21,478 cases. Of these, 18,944 cases were disposed of while he sat on a Division Bench and 2,534 cases were disposed of sitting singly. Justice Swaminathan also intimates that he has released this performance card as a measure of judicial accountability.
Further, he goes on to announce his intention to tackle case pendency more effectively and has also sought the assistance of the Bar towards this objective.
Notably, in a move that is likely to usher in greater transparency and guard against retaining cases beyond a roster cycle, Justice Swaminathan has intimated his intention to dictate all his judgments in open Court henceforth. He has stated,
“I had reserved a number of matters and I find it difficult to prepare the orders without the benefit of rehearing. But then, I am not supposed to retain the bundles once the cycle is over. Therefore, with heavy heart I am releasing almost 75 cases from my board. I, with folded hands convey my apologies to the counsel and to the concerned litigants for not giving disposal to those cases.
Henceforth, I shall dictate all the judgments in the open court. This I think will avoid the situation that I am now facing.”
He has also announced plans to ensure that his judgments hereafter are more comprehensive.
“I have introspected and I wonder if things could have been a little different and far better. My conscience says “yes”. I have been impatient, sometimes even rude. I hope to put on better behaviour henceforth. Many of my orders have been too cryptic. I request the Bar to appreciate that since pendency is heavy, I was more bent on disposals and I could not afford to write longorders. But then, the essential facts ought to have been stated. There is no excuse for skipping them over.”
Further, it is stated that he hopes to find a way to ensure that order copies are dispatched more expeditiously.