The Kerala High Court recently pulled up the Registry for not being vigilant and for the delay on its part in listing cases and informing judges about the old cases, some of which have been pending for decades.

In this case, the Court was considering the petition filed by a Co-operative Bank employee, who had been exonerated by his employer for 25 years, for no fault of his. The employee had been involved in litigation against his employer to get his eligible benefits and while deciding the plea that was registered in 2010, the Court ultimately found that the workman was entitled to receive his benefits.

The Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan while deciding with the Writ petition noted that the Judiciary should introspect as the cases registered over 20 years ago were still pending.

"An introspection by the judiciary is also necessary because the first writ petition filed by the workman was pending before this court for the last 13 years. I had the opportunity to sit in the old writ petition hearing jurisdiction in which I disposed several old cases and one of the writ petitions disposed this month was filed in the year 2003. That means some of the writ petitions are pending before this court for about 20 years."

The Court recognized that there were latches on the part o the Registry also, for it is their duty to report about the old cases before the jurisdictional roster Judge after getting permission from the Chief Justice but the Registry miserably failed in discharging its duty.

The Court expressed its anguish with regard to the practice prevalent in High Court wherein once the cases are admitted unless there is an urgent memo or a petition for an early hearing or other petitions for any directions, it would not be listed except for the final hearing.

The Court further said that even the lawyers have grievances regarding the working of the Registry that "the cases are not listed by the registry even after filing 'urgent memo'. They even say sarcastically that the "urgent memos" filed are "committing suicide and disappearing". Some of the old writ petitions are misplaced and not located. It is the duty of the registry to locate the same forthwith or get orders to recreate the file."

The Court expressed its concern that the people would lose faith in the Judiciary if the cases were kept pending and the litigants are forced to spend a major part of their lives contesting these petitions and went on to direct the Registrar General and the Registrar (judiciary) to inform the Chief Justice about the old writ petitions pending in different Jurisdiction and to take appropriate steps in this regard as per the directions given by the Chief Justice.

Cause Title- M.K. Surendrababu v. Kodungallur Town Co-op Bank Ltd. & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Judgment