The Supreme Court today took a strong view by imposing a cost of Rs 25,000 each against 14 state governments and a union territory for "very lightly" taking its order and not responding to the Law Commission's report on a formula to clear the backlog of cases. "They (states) have to look at the recommendation by the Law Commission and say whether the formula based on disposal rate method was acceptable or not," a bench, headed by T S Thakur, said while refusing to take a lenient view on the matter.
While imposing the cost, the bench, also comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R Banumathi, said the states have to examine and give their opinion on the Law Commission's formula by middle of November when the next hearing will be fixed. The Law Commission had made specific recommendations about the backlog of cases in undivided Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, Maharashtra, Sikkim and Uttarakhand and the union territory of Chandigarh.
The apex court had on May 1 asked the state governments and their respective high courts to give their response to the formula whether it was acceptable and if not then they must specify the reasons for not accepting it. When the mattter came up for hearing today, the bench found that except for a short affidavit filed by Punjab and the response by the Bombay and Gujarat High Courts, no other state government or high courts responded to the notice.
"We regret to say that except for Punjab, no other state filed a response," the bench said and added there was "no justification for the states not to respond".