Justice Sanjiv Khanna Releases ‘Annual Report’ Of Orissa High Court

Jyoti Prakash Dutta

13 Feb 2023 10:38 AM GMT

  • Justice Sanjiv Khanna Releases ‘Annual Report’ Of Orissa High Court

    Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Judge of the Supreme Court, last week released the ‘Annual Report-2022’ of the Orissa High Court at the Odisha Judicial Academy, Cuttack. He also flagged off the Annual District Judges’ Conference-2023. The event was attended by Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Dr. Justice S. Muralidhar, Judges of the High Court, all the District Judges and Chief...

    Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Judge of the Supreme Court, last week released the ‘Annual Report-2022’ of the Orissa High Court at the Odisha Judicial Academy, Cuttack.

    He also flagged off the Annual District Judges’ Conference-2023. The event was attended by Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Dr. Justice S. Muralidhar, Judges of the High Court, all the District Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates of the State.

    The Annual Report, which is a comprehensive statement on the functioning and the activities of the High Court and the District Courts, is being published consecutively for the second year after a gap of seven years.

    The report contains information on case statistics, infrastructural development, initiatives in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), budget and accounts, public outreach programmes and significant judgments delivered by the High Court during the last one year.

    The report also features the activities of Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA), the Odisha Judicial Academy and that of the offices of Advocate General, Deputy Solicitor General of India and the High Court Bar Association.

    It also shares information on district judiciary, separately for each district. Moreover, the report provides the account of the initiatives taken by judiciary to tackle the challenges enumerated in the last year’s report.

    While speaking on the occasion, Chief Justice Muralidhar said it was due to the suggestions of the District Judges in the last year’s Conference that prompted the High Court to take steps for rationalization of case-loads among the trial courts across the state resulting in disposal of 5,50,392 cases by the District Judiciary in 2022 - an increase of 116.02% in the disposal of 2,38,588 cases in 2021.

    He also said that the District Judiciary has delivered 1,61,263 judgments in 2022 compared to 72,806 in 2021. While congratulating the Judges of the High Court and the District Judiciary for improved performance in all spheres, the Chief Justice reminded them not to be complacent.

    He said that through the District Judges’ Conference, the best practices can be identified by sharing of ideas and experiences and those can be emulated.

    Speaking about the Annual Report, he said it was an attempt to make the report card of the judiciary available to the public to ensure accountability and transparency. He also announced that Bolangir, Nayagarh and Deogarh were found to be the Best Performing Districts in Zone ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ respectively for 2022.

    Key Highlights Of The Annual Report-2022

    1. Improved Case Disposal Rate: Disposal of cases by High Court increased by over 29.86% compared to 2021. 1,36,599 cases were disposed in 2022 at a Case Clearance Rate (CCR) of 130.94% as compared to 1,05,182 cases in 2021. Similarly, disposal of cases by District Judiciary increased by over 116.02% compared to 2021. The District Courts disposed of 5,15,392 cases at a Case Clearance Rate (CCR) of 93.20% compared to 2,38,588 cases in 2021.
    2. Increase in Delivery of Judgments: 2,118 judgments were delivered by the High Court in 2022 compared to 810 in 2021. 1,61,263 judgments were delivered by the District Courts in 2022 comparison to 72,806 in 2021.
    3. Highest Working Strength in High Court: At the beginning of 2022, the working strength of the High Court was 18. It rose to an all-time high i.e. 24 in the month of August and remained 22 at the end of the year. While one Judge was transferred and two Judges retired, seven Judges were sworn in during the year. The sanctioned strength also increased during the year from 27 to 33.
    4. Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centres (VWDCs) in Every District: VWDCs in 2 districts were inaugurated in 2021. The judgment of Supreme Court in Smruti Tukaram Badade v. State of Maharashtra came on 11th January, 2022. Thereafter, VWDCs were inaugurated in 13 districts on 22nd April, 2022 and in remaining districts on 14th May, 2022. Presently, there are VWDCs in every district of Odisha.
    5. Establishment Paperless Courts: On 17th September, 2022 the then CJI Justice U.U. Lalit inaugurated 34 Paperless Courts in the District Courts of Odisha. Odisha is the first State in the country to have Paperless Courts in all the districts. The High Court aims to make the entire Odisha Judiciary paperless by the end of 2023.
    6. Establishment of District Court Digitization Hubs: In 2021, 4 District Court Digitization Centres (DCDCs) were set up at Cuttack, Sambalpur, Ganjam and Balasore. In 2022, the existing DCDCs were converted into District Court Digitization Hubs (DCDHs) and instead of opening of separate DCDC in each of the remaining district, DCDHs were opened in 10 locations namely, Angul, Bhadrak, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh and Sonepur which cover the respective neighbouring districts. The DCDHs were inaugurated on 12th December, 2022 by CJI Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
    7. Implementation of Case Load Rationalization: Pursuant to the discussion in the District Judges’ Conference, 2022, the District Judges were instructed to adopt rationalization of cases among the different courts to ensure their even distribution. A total number of 3,24,900 cases were transferred to different trial courts. This resulted in striking a balance with regard to pendency of cases among all courts. Due to heavy burden on the existing cognizance-taking courts, 25 new cognizance-taking courts were inaugurated across the State on 21st November, 2022.
    8. Scheme for Best Performing Districts: The High Court formulated a scheme to assess the performance of the District Courts and discern the best performing districts across the state classified into three categories i.e. Judgeships with more than 30 officers (Zone-A), Judgeships between 20 to 30 officers (Zone-B) and Judgeships with less than 20 officers (Zone-C). The evaluation was done on the basis of the information received from the District Judges, the reports of the concerned Administrative Judges and the Registry of the High Court with regard to the performance of the District Courts on various aspects like their judicial work, administrative capabilities and infrastructural management.
    9. Judicial History Project and the Centre for Judicial Archives: By a notification dated 1st May, 2022 of Home Department, Government of Odisha, the Centre for Judicial Archives of Odisha was set up. The old fragile records are being preserved by scientific method by experts in conservation work and after preservation the records are being digitized. Most of such records contain Persian manuscripts which are proposed to be translated by Persian scholars. 9,537 records have been catalogued, 768 records preserved and 201 records consisting of 3,755 sheets have been digitized as of now.
    10. SCC Online for All the Judicial Officers: On 21st February, 2022, the 782 Judicial Officers of Odisha were provided with the SCC Online facility. This gives them access to the various judgments of the Tribunals, High Courts and Supreme Court of India as well as statutes, Bills in parliament and articles. Further, on 13th May, 2022, an online web platform called the Case Law Portal (CLP) was launched for enabling Judicial Officers to share and read case law summaries and commentaries.
    11. Judicial Infrastructure Management Agency: A dedicated technical agency viz., the Judicial Infrastructure Management Agency (JIMA), the first of its kind in the country, was established by the Government of Odisha in consultation with the High Court of Orissa for effective management of judicial infrastructure. It was inaugurated on 12th October, 2022 in the premises of the office of Chief Construction Engineer, Cuttack.
    12. Opening of e-Libraries for Lawyers in District Courts: In a first of its kind initiative, the High Court of Orissa decided to provide e-library facilities to the lawyers practicing in the 30 District Courts and 2 outlying stations of Koraput and Rourkela. This involves setting up of the e-library rooms with two personal computers and with network connectivity, free subscriptions of All India Reporter (AIR), Manupatra for one year and providing an updatable CD ROM of the Orissa Law Times (OLT). This facility was inaugurated on 22nd March, 2022 by the Chief Justice in the presence of the Judges of the High Court in virtual mode.
    13. Lawyer of the Year Award: The lawyers in the age group of 30-40 in each district (including the outlying stations in the district) of the state were selected on the basis of their work for the entire calendar year of 2021, after being evaluated by the jury consisting of the District Judge, the Chief Judicial Magistrate and 3 Senior Members of the Bar from the respective districts having experience of 20 years or more. One lawyer each from 22 districts was found suitable for the ‘Lawyer of the Year Award-2021’. On the Foundation Day of the High Court on 26th July, 2022, the awards were conferred upon the selected lawyers.
    14. Felicitation of High Court Employees: On 1st February, 2022, the High Court of Orissa initiated the move to felicitate its employees who have completed service of 25 years and above. 169 employees of the High Court having completed service of 25 years and above in various cadres were felicitated by the Chief Justice and the Judges in a function held at Odisha Judicial Academy.
    Next Story