A Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice of India UU Lalit has sought to conduct time-bound hearings of key cases including the validity of the 10 percent quota in government jobs and educational institutions for the so-called economically weaker sections.
CJI Lalit, who took over as the top judge of the country on August 27, has a short term that will end in early November. Lalit’s predecessor NV Ramana had on his last day in office touched upon the issues of mounting pendency and timely listing of cases.
Experts contend that an effective court management system and a push for Alternative Dispute Resolution are needed to clear the huge backlog of cases that burden the judiciary.
As of August 1, 2022, the country’s top court alone had more than 71,000 pending cases, up from 67,000 10 years ago.
CJI Lalit has taken up early hearing of constitutional matters and four cases have been listed for a bench headed by him amid indications that these would be decided by early October.
Besides the challenge to the validity of quota for economically weaker sections, the bench would also take up if religion can be ground for reservation; a plea for the formation of a court of appeals and whether Sikh educational institutions in Punjab can be tagged as minority institutions in the state where the community is in the majority.
Besides the chief justice, the bench comprises Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi and JB Pardiwala. The bench will start hearing the pleas against the quota for economically weaker sections on September 13.
The cases will be heard thrice a week in a bid to move them towards a conclusion. The counsels have been asked to argue within the time allotted to them.