Report No. 114
While assigning the work of the judicial reforms to us, the Minister for Law and Justice, Government of India, informed us that-
"the problem of delays and arrears in Trial and Appellate Courts has, over the years, assumed serious proportions. The extent of pendency of cases in various courts in the country is very high. Increase in the number of Judges has not been able to halt the mounting arrears in the courts. The recommendations made in the past by various bodies, like the Law Commission and the High Courts Arrears Committee (Committee presided over by Justice J.C. Shah, former Chief Justice of India), have been found to be inadequate to effectively deal with the rigidities and dilatoriness of court procedures.
A fresh approach is necessary to examine to which extent decentralisation and other changes in the Constitution and functioning of the courts should be brought about and what basic changes in structure and procedures should be devised to eliminate delays in the disposal of cases of all categories pending before all courts". As a matter of fact, he, way-back in 1958, in the course of a discussion in the Rajya Sabha, had also observed:
"There is no doubt the system of justice which obtains today is too expensive for the common man. The small dispute must necessarily be left to be decided by a system of Panchayat justice-call it the People's Court, call it the Popular Court, call it anything-but it would certainly be subject to such safeguards as we may devise-the only means by which for ordinary disputes in the village level the common man can be assured of a system of judicial administration which would not be too expensive for him and which would not be too dilatory for him".
Since then the situation has worsened considerably. The Law Commission, free from pre-possession and any prejudice, probed into an hitherto unexplored region in search of solution which must have both newness and utility. The search ends here. There is no attempt to claim originality. A solution may appear to be a synthesis between old values of lasting durability and new values which require to be enthroned in the field of judicial administration. Talking, discussing, deliberating and provoking a discussion, helped us in understanding the existing infirmities. Care has therefore, been taken to devise the forum in which, at any rate, the existing infirmities will have no entry door to corrupt it.
Restructuring a system while reforming it permits retention of the acceptable part and rejection of the redundant. That was the approach we set out with and we are concluding in the hope that a start may be made, even if need be, as an experimental measure, in selected areas in every State to give the recommended system the chance to prove its credentials. A watchful observation in the initial stage will help in removing impediments that may appear in the process of implementation. The Law Commission would always be available to amend, reform and revise, if need be, to make the system effective in the service of the people for whom it is devised.
D.A. Desai, Chairman.
V.S. Rama Devi, Member-Secretary.
Dated: 12th August, 1986.