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Report No. 14

11. Paper books.-

One reason for the delay in the disposal of civil appeals is said to be the extreme slowness with which records of cases are printed by the Government Press. We were told that records of appeals instituted in 1947 had not been printed in 1953. As the Government Press is unable to cope with the work, Government has entered into a contract with a private press for printing the records and large sums are paid annually to that press for the purpose. At one time, to avoid delay, there was an attempt at getting the paper books printed privately by the parties but the experiment did not prove successful, as a large number of mistakes occurred.

We however understand, that the Government has agreed to provide a separate press for the High Court by the end of 1958. We trust that this will solve the difficulty. The suggestions made by us earlier with regard to the preparation of paper books may also be given a trial so that occasion may not arise for the increased number of judges to find themselves without work by reason of papei books not being ready.

12. Volume and nature of litigation.-

The following statement shows the number of suits instituted in the subordinate courts during the years 1951-56.

Year

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

Institutions

105,8973

1,17,293

1,19,946

1,34,123

1,16,250

90,992

We have not got detailed information for the years 1955 and 1956 but the statistical data available for the years 1951 to 1954 reveals that nearly 68 per cent. of the suits were under the rent laws. It will be noticed that there has been a considerable fall in institutions after the year 1954. This is largely attributed to the land reforms and the abolition of Zamindaris in the State. The rise in institutions in 1954 was partly occasioned by the anxiety of the landlords to realise arrears of rents before the full implementation of Land Reforms.

The administration reports upto 1954 show that nearly 90 per cent. of the suits instituted were of value not exceeding Rs. 1,000. Suits below Rs. 2,000 were roughly 93 per cent. and about 96 per cent. of the total institutions was below Rs. 5,000. In view of the recent changes in the law, the rent suits will disappear and the pattern of work in the civil courts will change.

13. Pecuniary jurisdiction.-

Though specially selected Munsifs can be invested with jurisdiction to try suits upto Rs. 4,000, the pecuniary jurisdiction of a Munsif is ordinarily limited to Rs. 1,000. The number of Munsifs with a jurisdiction upto Rs. 2,000 or more is very small. In view of the decline in the number of suits of low valuation, the intensive training given to newly appointed Munsifs and the fall in the value of money, we are of the opinion that the jurisdiction of Munsifs should be raised to Rs. 5,000. This will give substantial relief to the subordinate judges and provide sufficient work to the Munsifs. The small cause jurisdiction of Munsifs is limited to Rs. 250. The ordinary jurisdiction of Subordinate Judges is unlimited, but their small cause jurisdiction is limited to Rs. 500. This also may be raised with advantage.

14. State of file in courts of Subordinate Judges and Munsifs.-

The position of regular suits in the courts of Munsifs and Subordinate Judges during the years 1951-1956 is shown separately in the following two statements:

Original Suits in The Courts of Munsifs

Year

Institutions during the year

Total disposal during the year

Disposal after full trial

Average duration in days of full trial cases

Pendency at the end of the year

Suit over one year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1951

90,584

1,00,650

10,602

451.8

57,276

16,660

1952

10,0413

1,26,885

14,296

504.6

54,469

14,423

1953

101,842

1,21,939

13,845

497.6

51,729

9,818

1954

1,15,745

1,33,045

11,671

503.6

50,809

8,096

1955

96,420

1,03,714

..

..

46,635

6,538

1956

71,945

83,796

..

..

35,879

7,240

Original Suits in The Courts of Subordinate Judges

Year

Institutions during the year

Total disposal during the year

Disposal after full trial

Average duration in days of full trial cases

Pendency at the end of the year

Suit over one year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1951

33,463

5,313

1,392

564.4

4,754

2,022

1952

3,096

4,725

1,206

629.2

4,855

2,260

1953

3,137

4,656

1,020

713.1

5,189

2,651

1954

2,939

5,309

1,135

762,6

5,167

2,730

1955

2,773

3,605

..

..

4,560

2,380

1956

2,699

3,345

..

..

3,963

1,915

Note.-Institution do not include cases restored or otherwise received.

These statements reveal that the position with regard to the regular suits is on the whole satisfactory. There has in recent years been a gratifying fall in the total number of pending suits as well as in the number of year old suits. It is obvious that the number of judicial officers is not inadequate and throughout the period, 1951 to 1956, both Munsifs as well as Subordinate Judges have been able to keep pace with the institutions. The proportion of more than one year old cases to the total number of pending suits in a Munsifs court is only 20 per cent, although in Subordinate Judge's courts this proportion is nearly 48 per cent.

This however is inevitable, as the percentage of contested suits in the courts of the Subordinate Judges is as high as 38 per cent. as against 10 to 12 per cent. in the courts of Munsifs. This disparity is accounted for by the large number of uncontested rent suits instituted in the Munsifs' courts. Thus out of a total of 1,19,964 regular suits disposed of by Munsifs during the year 1954, 96,001 were suits under the rent law, and of those only 4,902 were contested suits. The average duration of a contested suit in Munsifs' courts in 1954 was 503 days i.e., about 1 year and 4 months and in the Subordinate Judges' courts 762 days i.e., about 2 years and 1 month.

The average duration of a small cause suit in 1954 in Munsifs' courts was 188 days i.e., about 6 months and in a court of a subordinate judge was 210 days i.e., about 7 months. Notwithstanding these figures there is, we think, room for considerable improvement particularly in the disposal of small cause suits. The following statements show the average disposal of work of Munsifs and Subordinate Judges during the year 1954.

Munsifs

Civil Suits

Small Cause Suits

Misc. Civil Cases and Petitions

Total disposal

Average disposal

Total disposal

Average disposal

Total disposal

Average disposal

1

2

3

4

5

6

1,19,694*

809*

11,784

80

16,312

110

*. Of these a very large proportion were uncontested suits under the rent law.

Subordinate Judges

Civil Suits

Small Cause Suits

Misc. Civil cases and Petitions

Civil Appeals

Civil Misc. Appeals

Total disposal

Average disposal

Total disposal

Average disposal

Total disposal

Average disposal

Total disposal

Average disposal

Total disposal

Average disposal

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

3,149

51

3,566

57

2,716

62

4,777

77

708

11

Note.- Figures in columns 2,4,6,8 and 10 include contested and uncontested matters.

The quantity of disposals by munsifs would appear to be capable of improvement as can be seen from the preceding Table. Greater expedition appears to be possible, if the subordinate judicial officers realise the need for dispatch in trying cases. Such awareness seems to be lacking at present. One subordinate judge frankly told us that his test of congestion of work was the number of suits pending in his court which required under the rules an explanation to be given.

We were told, that although the statistical returns have a column indicating the number of year old cases, nevertheless, the explanation of a judicial officer was called for by the High Court only in respect of cases which were more than two or three years old. Greater strictness and vigilance with regard to the pendency of old cases and the furnishing of an explanation for every year old case appear to be necessary. However in assessing the work of munsifs it must be remembered that the Rent Control Act has been recently amended and jurisdiction under that Act has been conferred on Munsifs.



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