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Report No. 99

Chapter 5

Summary of Recommendations

We give below a summary of the recommendations made in this Report.

(1) No rigid or mathematically precise time limits for oral arguments is recommended. It may be difficult to lay down any hard and fast rule for determining the minimum time for oral arguments. However, it should still be possible for the court to obtain, from counsel appearing on both the sides, an estimate of the time that may be reasonably required for oral arguments and to request counsel to adhere to that time. Such a course, coupled with an insistence by the Court on provisions contained in the rules as to the filing of a proper statement of case, should go a long way towards improving the rate of digposal, without seriously impairing the cause of justice. In this manner, the matter may. be left to the good sense of the Judge who can, after consulting counsel, fix the time beforehand, keeping in mind the nature of the case and the issues to be argued.

In fixing the time, the Judge can also bear in mind the fact that where the written arguments are well drawn, the time taken in oral arguments should not be very long, in the large run of cases. To suggest that half an hour is the usual limit would be going too far. But the dominant consideration should be to keep oral arguments within reasonable limits. No formal amendment of the law, is envisaged, but it is recommended that such a practice should be evolved and constantly followed,1 in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts.

(2) The system of providing law clerks should be given full trial. A beginning could be made by providing law-clerks to such of the Judges of the Supreme Court as may like to have them. The law-clerks should be attached to particular Judges, and not merely to the Court as such. Matters such as the qualifications of law-clerks, their proper remuneration, for what time they should be appointed and other allied matters of an administrative character can be best left to be taken care of by the Supreme Court. The institution of law-clerks could prove to be useful for High Courts also, in cases of complexity2

(3) No recommendation is made to introduce a compulsory requirement of filing written arguments in all cases, at least for the present. But the device of filing a "statement of case", if properly implemented, should go a long way towards reducing oral arguments in point of time, or at least in canalising oral arguments into proper directions and in focussing upon the central issues of direct relevance, which itself will lead to a saving of time. The recommendation, therefore, is that the statement of case/appeal, properly prepared by counsel and filed in court, should be insisted upon. If counsel consider it necessary, they may be permitted to file written briefs, which naturally would be more elaborate than the statement of case/appeal. Written briefs, when filed, must be of reasonable length, as otherwise the process of reading of the briefs by the judges will be time-consuming.3

Oral and Written Arguments in the Higher Courts Back

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