Report No. 79
7.7. System of listing.- continuous list recommended.-
Another cause of delay in the disposal of appeals is the defect in the system of listing with reference to dates. Fixing of actual dates in all appeals is not possible in the High Court. The time taken in each appeal is uncertain and cannot be estimated. An appeal fixed for a particular actual date, if not reached on that date, has necessarily to be adjourned to another date which may well be after several months, because of the intervening actual date appeals already fixed. This may result in the old appeals becoming older and the newer appeals being taken up and disposed of earlier. It will be conceded that this is not desirable. In our view, the system best suited to the High Court is normally that of a continuous list.
7.8. Continpus li.- ready list to be prepared.- For the system of continuous list1 to work effectively, meticulous care should be taken in its preparation. We recommend (as, in fact, is the practice already being followed in most of the High Courts) that there should be a ready list containing particulars of cases ready for hearing in chronological order according to the dates of their institution. From this ready list, a daily list should be drawn up in the same manner and with reference to the dates of institution. The cases should be taken up by the court seriatim from this daily list from day to day, strictly in the order in which they appear in the, list. No deviation should normally be made save in exceptional circumstances.2 Adjournment of cases reached for hearing according to the daily list should be an exception, and not a matter of course.
1. Para. 7.7, supra.
2. See also Chapter 20, infra.
7.9. Cases requiring early disposal.-
We may add that there are certain types of cases which, on account of their very nature, call for early disposal. It is plain that great injustice would be done and hardship caused if these cases have to take their turn in the queue. Justice demands that priority should be given to their disposal.
Certain cases require urgent attention as having effect upon the pendency of other proceedings. Certain cases require urgent attention as affecting life or liberty. Certain other cases require urgent attention because of the peculiar nature of their subject matter. The following list enumerates the categories of cases calling for priority:
I. Cases requiring urgent attention as having effect upon pendency of other proceedings
(a) Cases in which orders have been passed whereby other proceedings have been stayed.
(b) Appeals against orders of remand.
II. Cases requiring urgent attention as affecting life or liberty,
(a) Cases involving death sentence.
(b) Habeas Corpus petitions.
III. Cases requiring urgent attention because of their peculiar nature
(a) Appeals in matrimonial cases, and cases involving custody of children.
(b) Appeals under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 in claim cases.
(c) Appeals under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
(d) Cases arising out of statutes dealing with agrarian reform.
(e) Cases between the landlords and tenants where eviction is claimed on the ground of bona fide personal need of the landlord.
(f) Cases where the relief sought is a declaration that suspension or termination of service of an employee, including employees in industrial undertakings, is illegal and not warranted, with or without a prayer for consequential relief.
(g) Election matters.
(h) Such other cases as may, in the opinion of the High Court, call for early disposal.
7.11. Criminal appeals.-
We may add that criminal appeals and revisions also need early disposal. One or more separate Benches should normally deal with these appeals and revisions, so that they do not remain pending for a long time. It hardly needs to be emphasised, so far as criminal cases are concerned, that it is essential that as they relate to the liberty of the subject and impinge upon the maintenance of law and order in the society, they be disposed of as early as possible. The criminal cases on that account would have to be treated as a class by themselves, and for that reason it becomes imperative to have separate Benches to deal with them. So far as tax cases are concerned, the matter is being dealt with in a subsequent chapter.1
1. Chapter 17, infra.