Chandigarh for over six months will now be decided within three months.
Taking cognizance of long delays, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has also empowered the
district judges to deal with dereliction, if any, on part of the judicial officer in doing so. The
registrar (vigilance), Punjab and Haryana, have been appointed nodal officer for supervising the
Though the exact number of such cases is not immediately known, some of the cases have
been pending for over a decade. Among the oldest is a case pending since 1998 in the
guardian court in Amritsar.
The directions to adopt proactive approach for aborting “unwarranted delays” came on a
petition filed by an Amritsar resident, seeking the custody of his minor granddaughter, following
the death of the girl’s parents. The girl is currently with her maternal grandparents. The matter
has been pending for over a year now.
Justice SD Anand asserted: The matters pertaining to child custody require utmost and
expeditious consideration. In case of embitterment between the estranged spouses, it is the
children who actually bear the brunt. They are deprived of simultaneous love and affection of
both the parents. It is they who suffer emotionally, and in silence too.
“As matters which are already six months old are concerned, the courts concerned shall ensure
their final disposal within three months from the date of this order.
“It will be personal administrative responsibility of the district judge to keep a tab on the
progress of the cases falling in the category. If the district judge finds any dereliction on the part
of the judicial officer concerned in expeditious disposal of cases of the category, he shall pass
appropriate order on the administrative side; and if required, refer the matter to the high court
for appropriate order in this context.
“If required, the court shall be entitled to consider duly notified preponement of the priority area
litigation of the indicated category....
“If there is any peculiar difficulty experienced by the judicial officer in the final disposal, he shall
be under duty to intimate facts hindering the progress to the district judges, who shall pass on
that information to the high court,” Justice Anand concluded.: Child custody case pending in the subordinate courts of Punjab, Haryana and