Report No. 14
1. Area and population.-
The former presidency of Madras which at one time consisted of twenty-six districts, as reorganised on 1st November, 1956, comprises thirteen districts (including the city of Madras) covering an area of 50,170 square miles with a population of 29,975,357 persons according to the 1951 census.
2. Judicial Districts.-
For purposes of administration of justice the State, excluding the presidency town, is divided into twelve judicial districts having a district and sessions judge each. Coimbatore has a permanent additional district and sessions judge. Ever since the State of Pudukkottah was merged with the Tiruchirapalli district, a temporary additional district and sessions judge has been functioning at Tiruchirapalli.
The revenue district of Tanjore has been divided into two judicial districts-West Tanjore and East Tanjore-with a district and sessions judge for each. The Nilgiris district is amalgamated with the Coimbatore district for judicial administration. The revenue district of Madras which comprises the territory within the limits of the municipal corporation of the city is the area over which the City Civil Court, the Presidency Small Cause Court and the High Court exercise jurisdiction.
3. The Judicial Services.-
The judiciary of the State is composed of three cadres:-
(1) the Higher Judicial Service consisting of the district judges, the Chief Presidency Magistrate, the Principal Judge, City Civil Court, the Chief Judge, Presidency Small Causes Court and the Administrator General and Official Trustee;
(2) the Judicial Service consisting of subordinate judges and district munsifs; district magistrates and sub-divisional magistrates are also borne on this cadre; and
(3) the State Judicial Subordinate Service consisting of Additional First Class Magistrates and Second Class Magistrates.
4. Honorary Magistrates.-
In addition to the officers in the three cadres above mentioned, honorary magistrates are appointed by Government in some of the districts of the State. They dispose of cases of a petty nature transferred to them by the district Magistrates. Generally, the powers of a second class magistrate are conferred on honorary magistrates who usually sit in Benches.
Different methods of recruitment are employed for the three cadres. Appointments to the Higher Judicial Service are made by promotion from the category of subordinate judges, which includes district magistrates or by direct recruitment from Bar; the latter is restricted to six posts out of nineteen.
6. Recruitment to the State Judicial Service is made by the Public Service Commission, the members of which with the help of a judge of the High Court deputed ad hoc interview candidates and prepare a list of persons considered fit for appointment. However, the judge has not the predominating voice in making the selections as a system of marking is adopted which enables the view of the members to prevail over the judge's view as to the fitness of a candidate.
A special feature of the system of recruitment in this State is that a certain number of vacancies in the cadre of munsifs is reserved for Sub-Assistant Registrars of the High Court and members of the ministerial staff of the High Court and the subordinate courts, provided they possess a laW degree and satisfy certain other conditions laid down in the Judicial Service (Recruitment) Rules. Members of the Judicial Subordinate Service such as Additional First Class Magistrates, Stationary Sub-Magistrates and Assistant Public Prosecutors and Superintendents in the Law Department of the Secretariat are also eligible for recruitment as Munsifs.
A further reservation is made for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes. It may be mentioned that consequent on the separation of the judiciary from the Executive, Munsifs and Sub-Divisional Magistrates are interchangeable in the sense that an officer who has been working as a Munsif on the civil side can be posted as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate to do criminal work and vice versa. This system has the advantage that a Judicial Officer, by the time he acquires seniority and is promoted to be a subordinate judge upon whom the powers of an Assistant Sessions Judge will be conferred, would have experience of both civil and criminal work.
7. The Stationary Sub-Magistrates (Second Class Magistrates) are directly recruited to a large extent. Three out of twenty posts are reserved for recruitment by transfer from amongst the Assistant Public Prosecutors, Official Receivers and the ministerial staff of courts. Additional First Class Magistrates are appointed by promotion from amongst the Second Class Magistrates.
8. All recruits to the Judicial Service in this State are trained for six months with some modifications in the case of those recruited by transfer. We have set out the details of the training elsewhere. At the end of the period of training, the District Judges are required to report to the High Court with reference to each candidate deputed for training whether he was benefited by such training.
9. Pay scales.-
It is important to refer to the scales of pay of officers of the lower judiciary. Munsifs and Sub-Divisional Magistrates are in the time scale of Rs. 300-50/2-500-EB-50/2-700 and subordinate judges in that of Rs. 500-50/2-700. The District Magistrate (Judicial) draws his grade pay as a subordinate judge plus a special pay. Additional First Class Magistrates are in the time scale of Rs. 300-20-400 and Second Class Magistrates in that of Rs. 200-10-300. We have already commented on the biennial increments granted to civil judicial officers in the States of Madras and Andhra Pradesh which appears to be an ingenious device of the authorities to effect economy.
We feel that it is necessary to raise the status and pay of First and Second Class Magistrates. In passing we may refer to the pay scales of Amins (Bailiffs) and the process servers. The latter, who are generally entrusted with the service of summons, notices etc., are in the scale of Rs. 18-1-25, while Amins who are entrusted with arrest warrants and attachment warrants are in the scale of Rs. 25-1-45. These salaries also appear to need revision.
10. Separation: Delays in criminal courts-
The judiciary of this State has been completely separated from the executive by means of executive orders. Together with continuous and systematic supervision this has considerably reduced the number of pending criminal cases and also their duration. The result has been that by the end of 1956 very few cases over two months old were awaiting disposal in the State. The average duration of criminal appeals in Magistrates Courts and Sessions Courts was as low as 16 and 22 days respectively in 1956. We have earlier set out in detail the methods of supervision adopted in this State and particularly the system of submitting calendar statements. Two other features of criminal judicial administration in this State need mention.
Even under the scheme of separation the judicial magistrates retain the power to issue orders under section 144, Cr. P.C. and in emergent situations they are required to assist the police and act as if they are the executive magistrates in charge pending the arrival of the regular executive magistrates on the scene.
Further, by Madras Act XXXI of 1956, section 407 of the Cr. P.C. has been restored to the form in which it was prior to the Central Amendment of 1955 so that the District Magistrate (Judicial) continues to entertain appeals from the decisions of second and third class magistrates.