SC to start bulk hearing from mid-January

Kathmandu, November 24

In an attempt to reduce huge backlog of cases, the Supreme Court will start bulk hearings from January 15.

Spokesperson for the Supreme Court Narayan Prasad Panthi told THT that the apex court decided to start bulk hearing to adjudicate maximum number of cases by managing time efficiently.

“Cases of similar nature in which similar laws apply, will be assigned for bulk hearing. Such hearings will help the court officials to gather reference books and precedents in a more organised way and also  help judges make up their mind,” Panthi said. He added that Indian Supreme Court succeeded in reducing huge backlog of cases after it started bulk hearings.

Under the new plan, the SC will form   two to three benches every day to adjudicate new cases that require passing of   orders immediately, including interim orders. It will assign other cases to different benches for bulk hearing.

According to SC officials, the apex court will, however, hear each case listed for bulk hearing separately.

Panthi said bulk hearing would allow a litigant to know if his/her case was in the top of the cause list and the bench would hear his/her case as per the priority set in the cause list. “As of today, even the hearing of the first case of the cause list gets postponed when new but urgent cases are filed,” Panthi said.

General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association Khamma Bahadur Khati suggested other ways to save time. He said, “The SC should allocate time for the litigants’ lawyers without letting them lengthen their pleading. The court should limit the time of other lawyers representing one litigant after allowing considerable time to the leading  lawyer  to present his/her arguments. This is not happening in our judiciary.” He added that the SC should also go for specialisation by assigning cases to specialised justices.  “We see lawyers turned justices who have specialisation in criminal cases adjudicating civil cases,” Khati said and added that the SC should assign cases to justices who have knowledge of relevant subjects.

He added that bench assistants would have to prepare notes of the cases more carefully or else bulk hearing might not bring the desired results. “The bench assistants should not list cases just by looking at the title of the case and the similarities of the legal provisions

that the litigants have invoked in their cases. There may be a number of similar titles in some cases, but their contents can be very different. Bench assistants should prepare notes of those contents to help

justices in adjudication of cases,” Khati said.

The SC had 21,161 cases to adjudicate when the new fiscal began in mid-July. The court has adjudicated 3,191 cases since then and 2,821 cases were filed in the SC in the last five months.