MUMBAI: Sixty-four judges of Bombay High Court disposed of over 1.3 lakh cases in 2006, with Justice Abhay Oka settling the most number of cases according to the result of a Right to Information (RTI) query. The RTI has made it possible to know, for the first time, how many cases each judge disposes of.
While in the past, the court has released figures for the total number of cases settled in one year, no figures were released for the number of cases each individual judge had worked on.
The highest number of disposals in 2006 were made by Justice Oka (7,060), followed by Justice A M Khanwilkar (4,281), Justice S C Dharmadhikari (4,119), Justice D D Sinha (3,688), Justice F I Rebello (3,521) and Justice B R Gavai (3,616).
A senior lawyer said, "The quantity of disposals may be high for some judges and relatively low for others, but what matters most is the quality of the cases and the issues that were decided." Another counsel noted that a lower disposal figure is not necessarily indicative of less work done, because some cases need hearings that may last for days or even months.
According to the statistics, 1,39,183 cases were disposed of by 64 HC judges in 2006, which works out to an average of 2,178 cases per judge. However, the court's strength was not at 64 for the whole year, with two judges being appointed in February and six as late as August and one judge retiring in July.
RTI figures reveal that of the 54 judges appointed before last year, 22 disposed of less than 2,000 cases in 2006. Seven judges had a disposal rate of less than 1,000. "This was because one of them retired and most of the others served for less than four months," a HC source said.
The exhaustive list of disposals by individual judges, a copy which is with TOI, was made available by the deputy registrar of the HC after RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi filed a query asking for the names of the judges and their respective disposals.