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Need is to fast-track the entire judicial system

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A bench of Chief Justice R M Lodha and Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman told attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, "Now there is a demand from the Union government to fast-track trials pending against MPs. It cannot happen piecemeal. If fast-tracking of trials against MPs is needed, it is equally true for cases involving women and senior citizens. You need a comprehensive plan. "For good governance, it is necessary that courts are strengthened and criminal justice system is fast-tracked. It is high time the Union government takes all possible steps in consultation with states to fast-track criminal justice system so that justice is delivered expeditiously." - - - Justice Lodha said as CJI, he had his limitations and could not set up additional courts with manpower and infrastructure, which were completely in the hands of the government. - - - -The court said, "First, we must start from trial stage. A large majority of cases attain finality at the trial stage. If you fast-track the system at trial stage, then a major part of the problem will be taken care of." - - - By the end of last year, around 1.80 crore criminal cases were pending in trial courts despite the disposal rate exceeding the filing of new cases. The largest number of criminal cases were pending in Uttar Pradesh (44 lakh), followed by West Bengal (21 lakh), Maharashtra (19 lakh), Gujarat (15 lakh), Bihar (14 lakh) and Rajasthan (10 lakh).

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here

Well said, your Lordship. The ball is largely in the governments' (both Central and state) court (talking in tennis terms), and it is they who need to move their back-sides, and fast too.

The other aspects of Judicial reforms that require equal attention are:

  • curtailment unnecessary adjournments (refer this)
  • publishing the progress of cases (including and more particularly in lower courts) on court web-sites (refer this),
  • induction of MBA graduates as 'court managers' (refer this),
  • outsourcing of maintenance of court complexes to professional agencies (refer this).
  • creation of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) on the lines of IAS and IPS, for enhancing the competence and quality of judges in trial courts (refer this)

This is perhaps another area where the Civil Society needs to come together to demand speedy action. From Praja-RAAG side, I'll be sending off a petition this week.

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