RTI shows criminal cases as old as 30 years pending in Delhi courts28 Jan, 2014
The replies to applications filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act have revealed that there are numerous pending criminal cases lying in the various trial courts of Delhi, some being even three decades old. The replies, provided by the Patiala house court, Karkardooma court and Saket district court complex, show that 20-30 years old criminal cases are still undergoing hearing in the various courts. These cases include some serious criminal offences like domestic violence and attempt to murder.
This situation is prevalent despite the directive of Delhi High Court to its subordinate courts to strictly comply with Section 309 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The section mandates the court to conduct day-to-day hearing until all the witnesses have been examined. The High Court had also indicated that in case of non-compliance with the directive, administrative action would be initiated against the erring judge. The Five Plus Free Plan was launched in 2012 wherein the lower judiciary needed to identify all the cases pending for over five years and these cases were to be disposed of within 6 months. The RTI replies also indicate that the plan has not been executed to its fullest.
Based on the RTI replies, a letter has been sent to the Delhi High Court requesting it to treat the issue as a PIL as many courts are not complying with the High Court directive as they are not conducting day to day trial.