Report No. 14
1. Area and Population.-
The territory of this State after reorganization comprises an area of 1,90,872 sq. miles and has a population of roughly 4,82,65,000 persons. In view of the fact that large portions of the territories of other States have been added to this State as a result of the re-organisation of States and the system of judicial administration has not been unified, we shall deal only with the administration of justice as it obtained in the State of Bombay prior to its re-organisation.
2. The Judicial Service.-
The Judicial Service in the Bombay State consists of distinct cadres of officers in the mofussil and the Bombay City. The rules regulating recruitment to the judicial service divide the Service into two branches, namely, (a) Junior Branch and (b) Senior Branch. The Junior Branch consists of the two following classes, namely:
Class 1 comprising-
(1) Judges of the Small Cause Courts at Poona and Ahmedabad.
(2) Civil Judges (Senior Division).
(3) Judges of the Small Cause Courts at Bombay and Presidency Magistrates.
Class II comprising-
Civil Judges (Junior Division) and Judicial Magistrates of the First Class.
3. The Senior Branch consists of District Judges, the Principal Judge and the Judges of the Bombay City Civil Court, the Chief Judge of the Presidency Small Causes Court, Bombay, the Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, the Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay and Assistant District Judges.
4. Judges of the Small Causes Courts at Poona and Ahmedabad are appointed by the High Court by promotion from Civil Judges (Senior Division). Appointments to the posts of Civil Judges (Senior Division) are also made by the High Court by promotion from Civil Judges (Junior Division) and Judicial Magistrates of the First Class who have worked as Civil Judges (Junior Division). Judges of the Presidency Small Causes Court at Bombay and Presidency Magistrates are appointed:
(i) by promotion from Civil Judges of the Senior and Junior Division and Judicial Magistrates, First Class;
(ii) by nomination from members of the Bar and Civil Judges, Senior and Junior Division and Judicial Magistrates of the First Class.
5. Ordinarily, the proportion of posts filled by promotion and by nomination is 50:50. Appointment by promotion is made by the High Court while appointment by nomination is made by the Governor in consultation with the State Public Service Commission to which a representative of the High Court is invited at the time of interviews. The representative of the High Court takes part in the discussion of the Commission but is not entitled to vote.
6. Officers in Class II of the Junior Branch who are Civil Judges (Junior Division) and Judicial Magistrates, First Class, are recruited from members of the Bar. The appointment is made by the Governor in consultation with the Public
Service Commission who invite a representative of the High Court to be present at the interviews but the representative is not entitled to vote. Candidates for these posts must not be less than 21 and not more than 35 years of age and they must have ordinarily practised as advocates or pleaders for not less than three years and must be certified to have a knowledge of at least one of the regional languages of the State.
7. The appointment of the Principal Judge of the Bombay City Civil Court is made by the Governor in consultation with the High Court from Judges of the City Civil Court or from District Judges. Appointments to the posts of District Judges are made by the Governor (a) in consultation with the High Court by promotion from members of the Junior Branch who have ordinarily served as Assistant Judges and (b) on the recommendation of the High Court from members of the Bar who have practised as advocates or pleaders for not less than seven years in the High Court or Subordinate Courts.
A person recruited before attaining the age of forty-five years is first appointed to work as an Assistant Judge for such period as may be decided by the Government on the merits of his case and on the recommendations of the High Court, before appointment as a district judge. The proportion of posts filled in by promotion and by appointment from the Bar is ordinarily 50:50.
8. Judges of the City Civil Court, Bombay, are appointed by the Governor (a) on the recommendation of the High Court from practising advocates or pleaders of not less than seven years standing and (b) in consultation with the High Court from the District Judges.
9. The Chief Judge, Presidency Small Causes Court, Bombay the Chief Presidency Magistrate and the Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the High Court by promotion from the officers of Class I of the Junior Branch and working in the respective Courts, or by transfer from the Assistant Judges.
10. Appointments to the posts of Assistant Judges are made by the Governor in consultation with the High Court by promotion of Civil Judges, Junior Division, or Senior Division, of not less than seven years of service and not more than forty-five years in age. In computing this period, any period during which an officer has worked as a Civil Judge-cum-Magistrate or as a Resident of Judicial Magistrate of the First Class is to be included provided he was eventually brought on the joint cadre of Civil Judges, Senior Division or Civil Judges, Junior Division and Judicial Magistrates, First Class. Selection to these posts is on merit but seniority is taken into account as far as possible.
11. The scales of pay of the officers in the Junior Branch are:
(1) Judges of the Provincial Small Cause Court at Poona and Ahmedabad-Rs. 900-50-1050.
(2) Judges of the Presidency Small Cause Court and Presidency Magistrates, Bombay-Rs. 1000-30-1300.
(3) Civil Judges, Senior Division-Rs. 695-45-875.
(4) Civil Judges, Junior Division, and Judicial Magistrates-Rs. 300-probation for two years-320-20-500-E.B. 30-650.
and those of the Senior Branch are:
(1) Principal Judge, City Civil Court, Bombay- Rs. 2,500.
(2) Judges of the City Civil Court-Rs. 2,000.
(3) District Judges-Rs. 800-1800*.
(4) Chief Judge, Presidency Small Cause Court, Bombay and Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay- Rs. 1600-100-1800.
(5) Assistant Judges-Rs. 700-50-1000.
*. In case of promotees initial pay is fixed in the above scale at a stage next above the officer's substantive pay plus increments at the rate of one increment for every three complated years of service in the State Judicial Service subject to a minimum and maximum increase of Rs. 100 and Rs. 200 respectively over the substantive pay in the lower post.
12. Civil Judges, Junior Division and Judicial Magistrates, First Class, are appointed on probation for the first two years on the expiry of which the probationer is confirmed in the same grade provided his work has been found satisfactory and has passed an examination in one of the regional languages in the State other than that of which he was certified to have adequate knowledge at the time of his appointment. Candidates are not given any training before being assigned independent judicial work. In our opinion some course of training is necessary.
13. The selection of Assistant Judges from Civil Judges, Senior and Junior Division, is on merit but other things being equal, seniority is respected as far as possible. Every year a select list of Civil Judges who are considered fit for appointment as Assistant Judges is prepared by Government in consultation with the High Court and appointments are made in the order in which the names stand on this list subject to prescribed age limits. These officers are posted to District Courts to render assistance to the District Judges as Assistant Judges. On their first appointment they also exercise the powers of an Assistant Sessions Judge and after gaining experience of criminal work they are invested with the powers of an Additional Sessions Judge on the recommendation of the District and Sessions Judge.
Their civil appellate and criminal jurisdiction is co-extensive with that of District and Sessions Judges but they try only such cases as are made over to them by the latter. Their original civil jurisdiction is limited to suits of not more than Rs. 15,000 in value. This is anomalous but in practice neither the District Judge nor the Assistant Judge does any ordinary original civil work which is exclusively done by Civil Judges of the Senior or Junior Division. The District and Assistant Judges devote almost the whole of their time to appellate civil and original and appellate criminal work.
14. The Assistant Judges constitute a grade of judicial officers peculiar to the Bombay State. The advantage of having five classes of officers including Judges of Courts of Small Causes is difficult to appreciate. As the Assistant Judges do almost exactly the same work as District Judges, we feel that they should be designated Additional District Judges and given the same pay.
15. In the rules for the guidance of subordinate courts detailed instructions are given to the subordinate courts for prompt and efficient dispatch of judicial business in the appellate and original courts. Instructions have been given to deal with the problem of frequent adjournments sought by pleaders to suit their own or their client's convenience. The High Court has deprecated this practice and had also directed that no adjournment should ordinarily be granted on the ground that one of the pleaders is engaged in some other court. Further, presiding officers have been directed to be very strict in the matter of granting adjournments even if it has the effect of making them unpopular with the lawyers or the litigants.
The judges are expected to make it clear to the lawyers who take up more work than they can cope with that the court will not delay hearings to suit their convenience. The judges are also directed to control the examination-in-Chief, cross-examination and re-examination of witnesses and to check the tendency to prove and over-prove irrelevant allegations so as to prevent much time being wasted in recording unessential particulars to which no reference can usefully be made in arguments. The rules leave to the presiding officer a good deal of discretion for arranging his judicial business with the object of obtaining prompt and effectual disposal.
16. The Judge has to maintain a diary or index of the proceedings called the 'Roznama'. The object of this 'Roznama' is to show in a concise form the steps taken in each suit or proceeding with the dates of taking such steps. In other words it is a history of the suit or proceeding from the date of its institution till the date of disposal. It is drawn up so as to show all the detailed happenings in the case at one view and yet be as concise as possible. It is kept from day to day by the sheristedar or clerk in attendance on the Judge and the daily entries are, in all cases, signed by the Judge or the clerk of the Court. The following is an illustration of the manner in which this case history is maintained.