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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.

Muralidhar Rao


murali772's picture

it's still very much the jungle raaj

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The Supreme Court Wednesday held Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani guilty of contempt of court for not honouring an undertaking to pay Rs 550 crore in dues to Ericsson India Ltd 
A Bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran slammed the RCom chief’s “cavalier attitude…to the highest court of the land” and also held the chairpersons of Reliance Telecom Ltd and Reliance Infratel Ltd guilty of contempt.
For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here
When enforcement of a payment takes over 6 years (well, it has yet to happen), and that too at the intervention of the topmost court in the country, what meaning can there be to claims of having improved "ease of doing business"??? Forget it, we remain very much in the "jungle raaj". Another major failure of NaMoSarkar - for more on that, click here.
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Well said, most honourable Honour

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Excerpts from an article titled "Judiciary should treat this lockdown as an opportunity to re-envision courts as a 'service' instead of as a 'place'". For the full text, click here.
The lockdown has foregrounded the conversation of transitioning to virtual court hearings. Justice AP Shah, former chief justice of the Delhi high court, speaks to Pradeep Thakur on the preparedness of Indian judiciary to begin virtual hearings:
Fundamentally, our judges need to recognise that this technological revolution cannot be engineered by themselves. A clear vision and a well-thought out plan necessarily needs experts. Sure, a judicial representative can be present, but the bulk of the designing, engineering and customisation must be done by professionals. The National Informatics Centre (NIC), which provides tech solutions for the judiciary, has long been stretched to its limit, and operates with limitations on autonomy, expertise and resources. For a country that is home to the best and brightest minds, we should be turning to the private sector for solutions.
Indeed, quite Justice Shah has stated, this is a very critical job, and if handled well, it can bring about a sea change in speeding up justice delivery, fundamental to strengthening our democracy. And, yes, NIA has serious limitations (typical of most government set-ups), and as such, the job is best entrusted to a professional organisation, quite like the Passport dept has done in the case of it's back-end work. 
And as the knowledge and IT capital of the country, Bengaluru needs to be at the forefront of this exercise.
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

accountability for judicial delivery largely with courts

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Currently, the number of pending cases in our courts is 446 lakh and by 2022 it will cross 500 lakh. The justice delivery system is hurtling towards a disaster. We believe there are simple solutions to avert this: - - 
All suggestions above were inspired by the e-Committee recommendations and by Supreme Court directions. We hope the CJI treats this as an urgent suo motu PIL and converts the Covid calamity into an opportunity.
Courts must take the responsibility for judicial delivery and accept that they are accountable.
For the full text of an excellent article by Mr Shailesh Gandhi (former Central Information Commissioner) and Mr Arun Joshi (a technical consultant), click here.
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