Restructuring of Indian Judiciary can enhance efficiency of Indian Judicial System. Many would agree with the views of our Prime Minister that the Tribunal system eats the resources and open doors to corruption. The Village Courts, arbitration, mediation etc. as separate institutions are equally expensive and prone to corruption at the hands unscrupulous persons. It is necessary to render justice to the rich and poor alike and all concerned must feel that he received justice and equal treatment from the judiciary. Let me examine the multi tier system we presently have and the changes I propose.
The present Civil Court system generally is a four tier process with any number of interlocutory or intermediary actions depending on the status and ingenuity of the litigant, his advocate and choice of Judges of the higher Courts.
My first suggestion is to do away with present day four tier system and replace all Tribunals and provide specialised District Level Courts.
The District Court shall function on subject divisions in all the Districts. If some of the subjects like shipping law, air traffic laws the cases are less it can be in any one of the district in the State where the relevant activity is more.
The Constitution should be amended giving authority to District Level Administrative Court Division to exercise the powers under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India against all the State institutions, local bodies and other authorities functioning within the District and persons residing within the District.
District Level Court shall be the Primary Court which will take evidence and decide all types of cases.
From the decision of the District Court there shall be one appeal to the High Court. The High Court shall sit only in specialised divisions.
There shall be no appeal from interlocutory or intermediary orders except those orders which cannot be corrected and compensated by the final decision.
Magistrate Court can be established in necessary parts of the District having power to try all offences punishable under all enactments below five years and fine or compensation up to Rs.2 lakhs.
Sessions Court shall try all offences not triable by the Magistrate Court and hear appeals from the judgments of the Magistrate Court.
The High Court shall have power to hear appeals from the Sessions Court trial judgments and a second appellate power against the judgment in appeal from the Sessions Judges appellate judgment.
From the judgment of the High Court an appeal with special leave can be provided to the Supreme Court.
Do away with all types of Miscellaneous Courts, Tribunals and Authorities exercising judicial power and provide subject wise District Level Courts for all subjects.
Establish an authority for effecting Indian Judicial Service appointments like Indian Administrative Service. The selection shall be by conducting an all India examination and allotting to each State quota.
The eligibility for IJS examination shall be graduation in law with 10 years active practice as an advocate in the District Courts as well as High Court. Out of the Ten Years there should be minimum practice of 3 years in the High Court and should have appeared as an advocate in a minimum number of ten cases each in the preceding three years.
Each candidate should choose six group subjects by which District Level Courts are formed.
Initial appointment of all successful candidates shall be as Magistrates. On completion of 2 years service as Magistrate the candidate shall be appointed as District Judge in any one of the Subject Division chosen by him.
Appointment of judges of the High Courts:
Completion of service as District Judge for a period of 10 years will make eligible a person to be appointed as High Court Judge.
The District Judges shall place five judgments every year for assessing their ability as a Judge and all the judgments together shall be assessed for giving appointment as High Court Judge apart from their integrity, ability to dispose of maximum number of cases etc.
All the judgment sent for assessment shall be published online along with names and details of District Judges eligible to be considered and all connected with the Court shall be allowed to comment on their merit and such opinions shall also be processed and considered by the assessing body.
The assessing body shall consist of The Chief Justice of the High Court, 2 eminent retired Judges of the High Court, 2 eminent Advocates practicing in the State High Court, and 1 academically qualified person of law in the State, 3 legislative members nominated one by the opposition parties and 2 by the ruling parties.
Do away with all communal and caste reservations for appointment to judicial posts. Merit shall be the only consideration. If the Government feels difficult to do away with reservation my suggestion is reservation of 5% to Schedule caste and Schedule tribes and 5% to woman.
The court-fee shall not exceed 3% of the subject-matter value and Fixed court-fee shall also be fixed at a moderate rate. In the High Court Fixed court-fee can be twice that of the District Level rate, and at Supreme Court it can be fixed at thrice the District level rate of the concerned State.
I am sure that if the above said suggestions are adopted, it will really help in improving the judicial system of our country.
K. V. Sohan is a State Attorney, State of Kerala. The article is a gist of representation submitted by the learned author to the Prime Minister of India. The office of the Prime Minister has communicated that the suggestion have been forwarded to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court for necessary action. The author can be reached at [email protected]
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.