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Report No. 213

5. Fast Track Courts

5.1 The Eleventh Finance Commission recommended a scheme for creation of 1734 Fast Track Courts in the country for disposal of long pending Sessions and other cases. The Ministry of Finance, Government of India sanctioned an amount of Rs. 502.90 crores as "special problem and upgradation grant" for judicial administration.

The scheme was for a period of 5 years. Out of 18.46 lakh cases transferred to them, 10.66 lakh cases were disposed of by these courts at the end of the said scheme on 31.03.2005. Keeping in view the performance of Fast Track Courts and contribution made by them towards clearing the backlog, the scheme has been extended till 31.03.2010 with a provision of Rs. 509 crores as 100 percent central assistance.1

1. Annual Report 2006-2007, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, New Delhi, p.45.

5.2 In his address1 at a Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 08.04.2007, Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, CJI, expressed the view that these courts have been quite successful in reducing the arrears. Most of the criminal cases in subordinate courts are pending at the level of Magistrates. Keeping in view the performance of Fast Track Courts of Session Judges, the Government of India should formulate a similar scheme for setting up Fast Track Courts of Magistrates in each State, as recommended by the previous Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices held on 11.03.2006.

Similar views were expressed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice B. N. Agrawal, Judge, Supreme Court of India, on 01.08.2007 at the Lecture Series organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association.2 Recently speaking at a function, the Chief Justice of India suggested setting up of separate courts to deal with dishonour of cheque case under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act to improve liquidity.3

1. (2007) 4 SCC J 13.

2. (2007) 6 SCC J-1

3. The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 14-10-2008.

5.3 In this era of globalization and rapid technological developments, which is affecting almost all economies and presenting new challenges and opportunities, judiciary cannot afford to lag behind and has to be fully prepared to meet the challenges of the age. It is heartening to note that use of information and communication technology in judiciary is growing despite various constraints.

Day-to-day management of courts at all levels can be simplified and improved through use of technology including availability of case-law and meeting administrative requirements. Congestion in court complex can also be substantially reduced through electronic dissemination of information. The objectives that can be achieved through use of technology include transparency of information, streamlining of judicial administration and reduction of cost.1

5.4 Increase in the number of judicial officers will have to be accompanied by proportionate increase in the number of court rooms. The existing court buildings are grossly inadequate to meet even the existing requirements and their condition particularly in small towns and moffusils is pathetic. A visit to one of these courts would reveal the space constraints being faced by them, overcrowding of lawyers and litigants, lack of basic amenities such as regular water and electric supply and the unhygienic and insanitary conditions prevailing therein.

The National Commission to review the working of the Constitution noted that judicial administration in the country suffers from deficiencies due to lack of proper planned and adequate financial support for establishing more courts and providing them with adequate infrastructure. It is, therefore, necessary to phase out the old and outdated court buildings, replace them by standardized modern court buildings coupled with addition of more court rooms to the existing buildings and more court complexes.1

5.5 Litigation through the courts is just one way of resolving the disputes. Litigation as a method of dispute resolution leads to a win-lose situation leading to growth of animosity between the parties, which is not congenial for a peaceful society. We should, therefore, resort to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as negotiations, conciliation and mediation, in which nobody is a loser and all the parties feel satisfied at the end of the day. The main problem being faced in this regard is that there are not many trained mediators and conciliators.

We need to impart training in mediation and conciliation not only to judicial officers but also to the lawyers. They will have to develop expertise to act as successful mediators and conciliators. We also need to provide adequate infrastructure for conciliation and mediation centres by giving them adequate space, manpower and other facilities. The Government being the biggest litigant needs to be fully involved in the process and its officers need to take lead in this cause.1

1. (2007) 4 SCC J 13.

Fast Track Magisterial Courts for Dishonoured Cheque Cases Back

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