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SC imposes cost on 14 states over backlog of cases

Posted on Aug 20 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 20 : The Supreme Court Wednesday imposed a cost of Rs.25,000 each on 14 states and a union territory for failing to respond to the Law Commission's report on a formula to clear the backlog of pending cases.

Taking exception to the states taking the entire issue "very lightly", the bench of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice R. Banumathi said all that the concerned state governments had to do was to look at the Law Commission's formula and give their opinion.

"They (states) have to look at the recommendation by the Law Commission and say whether the formula based on disposal rate method was acceptable or not," said Justice Thakur as he brushed aside the plea for not imposing the cost and give another opportunity.

Asking the state governments to respond to the Law Commission's recommendation by mid-November when the matter would be taken up for hearing, Justice Thakur said the cost should be deposited in the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Welfare Fund.

The Law Commission had made specific recommendations with respect to Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, Maharashtra, Sikkim and Uttarakhand and the union territory of Chandigarh.

The court had May 1 asked the state governments and their respective high courts to give their response to the formula whether it was acceptable and if not then they must specify the reasons for not accepting it.

However, the court was Wednesday told that except for a short affidavit filed by Punjab and the response by the Bombay and Gujarat High Courts, no other state government or high courts responded to the May 1 notice.

"We regret to say that except for Punjab, no other state filed a response," the court said, adding that there was "no justification for the states not to respond".

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