Thursday, January 29, 2015

Law ministry lists ways to reduce backlog - A Rehash of the same old Story?

Seems like an Old Read....
Would have helped if the previous Governments had given it a serious thought to Ramp up the Justice Delivery System in India.

From the Times of India dated:



The law ministry has drawn up a list of good practices followed by some of the high courts (HC) and circulated them recently to chief justices of all HCs to implement the same as part of a common action plan to bring down pendency of cases, particularly those which are older than five years.

Setting up fast track courts, designating a special day in a week for disposal of older cases and adopting a case flow management system are some of the measures the Centre has suggested to all chief justices of high courts to be adopted for reducing pendency.

The government has also highlighted best innovative initiatives undertaken in many other countries to address the backlog. Encouraging pre-trial proceedings by several countries prior to commencement of the trial, court performance measurement and monitoring and mandatory prior notice in civil cases are some of the initiatives suggested.

In the pre-trial proceedings, followed in some countries, a meeting is arranged in chambers between judge, counsel for accused, and the prosecution and specific issues of trial are narrowed down in order to save time.

Regular assessment and monitoring of performance of courts is an effective way to bring about improved efficiency, transparency and accountability in judicial system. The law ministry suggests this could be done by introducing measurement indicators based on globally accepted benchmarks such as leadership and management, court planning and policies, court resources, court proceedings and public trust and confidence.

The government has also suggested mandatory prior notice in civil cases that would help in speedy trials. For this it has mooted a provision similar to section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) for all categories of civil cases.

Section 80 of the CPC requires that a litigant must give two months' notice to the concerned party. The government thinks introducing this guideline by the court would help in curtailing unnecessary litigation.

Among the good practices followed by some of the HCs, the Allahabad HC has come in for praise for organizing Lok Adalats regularly during weekends. More than 3.22 lakh cases have been settled in 766 Lok Adalats in the state during March-June 2014. The largest HC in the country has also set up 171 reconciliation and mediation centres in districts with the help of the state government.

These mediation centres have settlement rates of 26%. The HC has also proposed to set up 81 fast track courts for trial of rape cases.

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