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Report No. 114

1.4. Reform in Judicial Administration.-

Having regard to its first term of reference, namely, 'to keep under review the system of judicial administration to ensure that it is responsive to the reasonable demands of the times', the Commission decided to give highest priority to the question of basic reforms in judicial administration. The present disturbing situation clearly visible to all in the administration of justice will require consideration of numerous structural changes. The Commission identified the rural poor as the victims of the present judicial system and accordingly, drew-up its agenda of work in which the rural poor were assigned the highest priority. The Commission had before it the well researched analysis of the work of the first ten Law Commissions made by Dr. Upendra Baxi in his book. 'The Crisis of the Indian Legal System'.1

The analysis shed light on the working procedure then in vogue and the need to recast the same on the lines suggested in the analysis. It was felt that law reform is not the preserve of a few technocrats working in the office of the Law Commission. It must be a participatory process and the width and range of participation must be cast wide so as to include those who suffered by the colonial legal system which has become wholly stratified. Accordingly, the Commission was of the view that it should have consultation with the widest range of informed public opinion before it finalised its recommendations for various changes in the system.

Therefore, it devised a procedure whereby a working paper on its terms of reference should be prepared, translated into Hindi through the good offices of the Official Languages Wing of the Legislative Department. It was also decided to hold numerous discussions, organise seminars and workshops and invite consultations as it could reasonably handle on the draft paper. Invitations were specifically extended to lawyers, practising at grass-roots level, Judges belonging to subordinate judiciary, legal academics and social activists.

1. (1982) Ch 9, 244 to 294.

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