When a judge in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district disposed of a
record 111 cases in a single day last week, little did he realise
that this will attract ire from members of his own legal fraternity.
While common people have welcomed his move to ensure speedy justice,
it has left a section of lawyers at Mangalgiri city civil court
Junior Civil Judge J.V.V. Satyanarayana Murthy says he is determined
to pass more judgments in bulk to provide much-needed relief to
litigants. But the lawyers conveyed to him that at this speed they
would turn jobless.
A group of lawyers, who earn a fee of Rs.100 to Rs.200 for each
hearing, met the judge and urged him to go slow, an official of the
Bar Association told IANS.
"The lawyers told him that if he continues delivering judgments at
this speed they will suffer starvation. The judge said he is acting
in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code and nobody can
question him. He said that litigants should not be made to suffer
for the fees of lawyers," A. Sanjeeva Reddy, founder president od
the Mangalgiri Bar Association, said.
In the three-and-a-half months since he assumed office, Murthy has
disposed of nearly 500 cases, including 111 last Thursday. The court
has another 1,000 cases pending. There are an estimated 30 million
cases pending in courts across the country.
Delivering speedy judgements is not new to him. He had disposed of
808 civil cases in 20 days when he was posted at Pulivendula town in
Kadapa district a couple of years ago.
Earlier, Murthy won many hearts by delivering judgment in Telugu. At
a time when all the judgments are delivered in English, this has
come as another relief for Telugu-speaking people not well versed in
Murthy has won all-round praise from people in Mangalgiri, 20 km
from Guntur town.
"Delivering 111 cases in a single day is not just a record in India
but I believe it is a world record," said Vardhan Rao, a consumer
The previous highest number of cases disposed of in a single day was
80 by a judge in Mumbai a few years ago.
The cases which Murthy disposed of were related to theft, street
brawls, domestic quarrels and road accidents and had been pending
since 2004. No one was sent to jail in any of the cases. In 78 cases
where the accused confessed to the offences, the judge imposed
either a simple fine or admonished the guilty.
People in Mangalgiri say Murthy has proved that an initiative by
judges could help in disposing of millions of cases pending in
various courts across the country. "This will restore people's
confidence in the judiciary at a time when people are afraid to go
to court. They are frustrated and some of them are even taking the
help of anti-social elements for justice," said Vardhan Rao.
Measures like the one taken by Murthy will immensely benefit
litigants, a majority of whom are farmers, agricultural labourers
and people from the weaker sections of society.
"They have been roaming around the courts for years. It is a hell
for them. Every day they can be seen standing in courts from morning
to evening. Not knowing when they will be called, they eat ground
nuts for lunch and sleep in the premises. They will be afraid of
leaving the court because a warrant may be issued for them if they
are not present when the case comes up for hearing," said Sanjeeva
Reddy, who has been practising for 35 years.
There is a saying in Telugu that a person who climbs to the top of a
hill and one who goes to a court cannot return quickly. But Murthy
is showing the way.
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