Taking inspiration from the article regarding the proposal of learned senior counsel K.M. Vijayan here, I decided in 2019 to explore the subject deeper in various angles.
Article 32(3) of Constitution of India says so,
32. Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by this Part.—
(1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.
(2) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part.
(3) Without prejudice to the powers conferred on the Supreme Court by clauses (1) and (2), Parliament may by law empower any other court to exercise within the local limits of its jurisdiction all or any of the powers exercisable by the Supreme Court under clause (2).
(4) The right guaranteed by this article shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by this Constitution.
|S.No||High Court Name||Civil||Criminal||Total Cases||Pending Writs||% of Writs|
|1||Allahabad High Court||420,043||378,888||798,931||286,765||35.89%|
|2||Bombay High Court||462,687||92,129||554,816||128,649||23.19%|
|3||Calcutta High Court||188,685||36,436||225,121||–||0.00%|
|4||Gauhati High Court||44,289||10,527||54,816||23,217||42.35%|
|5||High Court for State of Telangana||211,877||36,335||248,212||129,727||52.26%|
|6||High Court of Andhra Pradesh||186,214||32,288||218,502||112 (Doubtful)||0.05%|
|7||High Court Of Chhattisgarh||49,575||28,077||77,652||28,517||36.72%|
|8||High Court of Delhi||72,414||26,526||98,940||41,854||42.30%|
|9||High Court of Gujarat||101,467||50,669||152,136||506 (Doubtful)||0.33%|
|10||High Court of Himachal Pradesh||69,976||9,831||79,807||13,045||16.35%|
|11||High Court of Jammu and Kashmir||43,622||6,788||50,410||21,048||41.75%|
|12||High Court of Jharkhand||41,539||45,885||87,424||26,710||30.55%|
|13||High Court of Karnataka||239,725||42,018||281,743||71,252||25.29%|
|14||High Court of Kerala||175,453||45,791||221,244||85,192||38.51%|
|15||High Court of Madhya Pradesh||250,808||154,057||404,865||119,088||29.41%|
|16||High Court of Manipur||4,304||457||4,761||2,354||49.44%|
|17||High Court of Meghalaya||1,308||160||1,468||747||50.89%|
|18||High Court of Punjab and Haryana||283,359||166,895||450,254||183 (Doubtful)||0.04%|
|19||High Court of Rajasthan||414,971||148,113||563,084||157,668||28.00%|
|20||High Court of Sikkim||174||35||209||101||48.33%|
|21||High Court of Tripura||1,368||235||1,603||620||38.68%|
|22||High Court of Uttarakhand||24,256||16,687||40,943||16,834||41.12%|
|23||Madras High Court||524,174||61,435||585,609||87,240||14.90%|
|24||Orissa High Court||130,834||52,746||183,580||81,447||44.37%|
|25||Patna High Court||111,608||114,222||225,830||76,495||33.87%|
Source: https://njdg.ecourts.gov.in/hcnjdgnew/?p=main/pend_dashboard ; As on 28-Sep-2021
So, a total of 25% of the total cases pending
Identified the various stakeholders that may be impacted if this relief materializes.
If the Writs are allowed to be filed and decided at District Court level,
- Litigant Public: The litigant public doesn’t have to incur huge expenses in traveling to the venue of the High Court, engaging a High Court advocate, Have it listed and then keep running expenses from time to time. They can filed their Writ at the District Court itself and engage a competent advocate locally and have considerably less expenses and less timelines to face.
- Learned Advocates: Advocate can take up/file Writs at District level and they do not have to move the High Court. Those advocates who do not practice at High Courts currently, can very well handle Writs at District Court itself, by providing cost-effective legal services.
- Hon’ble Judiciary at District Courts: Considering the current strength of the judges at Supreme Court (33 as on 27-09-2021), High Courts (633 as on 01-09-2021; 465 vacancies as per Vacancy report of Dept of Justice, https://doj.gov.in/appointment-of-judges/vacancy-positions), District Courts (), and the constant onslaught of Writs being filed at High Courts year-on-year, it is near impossible for the 33+633 Judges to get a considerable grip on the Writ-pendency and dispose of the Writs in a time-bound manner. The District Judiciary also gets to work on one of the jurisdictions that they do not have access to, which is Writ Jurisdiction.
Considering the above facts and need of the hour, it is imperative that the Parliament makes a law (even for a limited time like a year) to decentralize the Writ jurisdiction and grant District judges (including Addl DJs, Special Courts, Family Courts, Labour Courts etc) to take up and dispose Writ petitions at their level itself.