Judicial Reforms

Over 14,000 courts throughout the country handle about four crores of cases, with the working strength of about 12,500 judge, each judge has to decide on nearly 4,000 cases. Is it not a sufficient ground for initiating judicial reforms in the country? Working on the judicial management system, our National Judicial Academy is doing its job remarkably well. Though there is large a number of cases before the courts, the fact is that only about 40 per cent of the cases are one-year old, while 90 per cent of the delayed cases lay in subordinate courts.

A series of long-term and short-term reforms may be suggested, long-term reforms are:

(i) Removal of the bottlenecks which adversely affect the adjudication,

(ii) Strengthening the bar,

(iii) Encouraging legal education,

(iv) Enhancing the power of judges to control judicial pressures, so to ensure just and efficient outcomes, and

(v) Providing for a satisfactory framework for judicial accountability.

Short-term reforms, may be:

(i) With administrative reforms, a large number of cases pending in courts can be reduced. In most cases, the government should take firm, and impartial measures.

(ii) The revenue administration needs to be streamlined and every one is given proper title and deeds. Consequently, a large number of land disputes could be avoided.

(iii) A large number of financial institutions, in their efforts to recover money through criminal proceedings make use of the provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The courts have become collecting agents for these financial institutions. Because of these types of cases, the ordinary criminal cases get hampered. The government needs to build its own infrastructure and in the process reduce the number of cases in the courts.

(iv) A large number of motor accident claims are pending in various tribunals. In some States, it takes more than four to five year to settle a claim despite the fact that the large number of cases are settled through the Lok Adalats. The Insurance Companies should have proper settlement procedure through which they need to settle their cases and disburse the amount to the claimants as early as possible.

(v) In many land acquisition cases, the amount awarded by land acquisition officers are not reasonable or proper, driving parties to resort to litigation. If there were district-level high power committees to fix compensations at reasonable amount, most of the claimants might possibly not move the courts.

(vi) Most of the criminal cases get delayed intentionally. Inept policing and weak prosecution are largely responsible for such cases.

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