Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Why Can't We Set Meaningful Dates While Dealing With Adjournments?Asks Justice Lokur

Karan Tripathi
30 July 2019 6:47 AM GMT
Why Cant We Set Meaningful Dates While Dealing With Adjournments?Asks Justice Lokur
x

DAKSH organised a panel discussion in New Delhi to talk about its Piloting Justice Project. The panel discussed the 'Zero Pendency Courts Project Report' which aimed at understanding the functioning of courts when they were not burdened with arrears, and recommended ideal timelines for disposal of different types of cases. The panel consisted of Retired Supreme Court judge...

DAKSH organised a panel discussion in New Delhi to talk about its Piloting Justice Project. The panel discussed the 'Zero Pendency Courts Project Report' which aimed at understanding the functioning of courts when they were not burdened with arrears, and recommended ideal timelines for disposal of different types of cases.

The panel consisted of Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur, and Senior Advocate Arvind Datar. The discussion was moderated by Mr Harish Narasappa who's the Co-founder of DAKSH.

To set the tone of the discussion, Mr Narasappa posed three moot questions before the panel:

  1. How many judges do we need to dispose off cases in one year?
  2. How do we ensure the certainty of each hearing?
  3. What should a judge do to ensure optimal utilisation of judicial time?

Justice Lokur responded to the aforementioned questions by highlighting the institutional and infrastructural issues that plague the system. Following are the key excerpts from his address:

  1. District courts in Delhi are among the best in the country - in terms of judges, infrastructure, etc. However, Delhi doesn't represent the country. We need to implement the same standards in other states as well.
  2. If the number of sanctioned posts are filled up, then the pendency would be negative. Finding an accurate figure of judges to reach zero Pendency is very difficult.
  3. When you're talking about increasing the number of judges, you also have to take into account the increasing number of judicial staff. Only 0.08 or 0.09% of GDP is spent on Judiciary - only 4 countries spend lesser than us. Therefore, there's a financial squeeze.
  4. Vijay Mallya's case has been adjourned till Feb next year, Nirav Modi's case has been adjourned till May next year - why can't we set meaningful dates while dealing with adjournments?
  5. Judges need to show decisiveness to curb unnecessary adjournments. However, that might also lead to strikes. Therefore, there's a need to strike a balance between the two.
  6. We need to define some terms, for instance, terms such as 'pending cases' or 'arrears' - cases that are pending for more than 12 months shall be termed as an arrear. Once that is done, the number of arrears would look very low.
  7. The mobile app developed by e-courts committee shall be used for service of summons

Senior Advocate Datar reminiscenced his trial court days in Madras city to bring upon instances both from the past and the present. He said:

  1. I was appalled by the time wasted in 'calling work' during my civil court days in Madras. 58% of the time of civil court was spent on calling work which is to call a case just to adjourn it.
  2. If CPC and CrPC is strictly followed, there would be no delay, as both the statutes lay down specific timelines to be followed.
  3. During older days, costs were strictly imposed which is not happening these days
  4. Infrastructural incapacity is a major add a concern. During my visit to Bharatpur, I came across a session court which did not even have tables and chairs
  5. Laws that are made without Judicial Impact Assessment also cause a rise in cases, for instance, section 138 of NI Act.
  6. Analyse judicial time and work towards outsourcing some work to retired officers.

After the opening remarks, Mr. Narasappa pointed out that the Case Law Management Rules are not being followed. Even worse, many High Court judges and Registrar offices are not even aware of it. Adding to this, Justice Lokur also pointed out that many directions of the apex court about dealing with pendency are being flouted. Moreover, there are excellent recommendations in many reports of the Law Commission which have not been documented yet. There was a consensus in recognising implementation lethargy as one of the major causes of pendency.

Towards the end, both the panelists emphasised upon the need to incorporate Judicial Impact Assessment in the legislative process, and the use of technology, for instance, the Virtual Courts Project, to deal with compoundable or petty offences. It was also pointed out that the problem of Witness Harassment must be dealt with, and the judges must be relieved of their administrative functions. 'Subordinate courts are the most receptive of new ideas, but they can't do anything without the permission of the High Court, Mr Narasappa pointed out.

Next Story