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Report No. 14

Regular Suits in The Court's of Munsifs

Year

No. of Munsifs

Institution

Total Disposal

Disposed after full trial

Average duration of full trial cases in days

Pendency at the end of the year

Over one year old cases

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1951

31

10342

10556

2377

384.4

7296

1742

1952

32

8890

9555

2197

440.2

7213

2243

1953

29

9626

9552

2017

489

8803

3127

1954

33

9007

9069

1873

561.5

9299

3802

1955

32

8011

8719

1873

526

8957

4077

1956

37

7828

8412

..

8990

3940

Note.- Institutions do not include cases restored or reviewed by transfer.

Regular Suits In Courts of Subordinate Judges

Year

No. of Subordinate Judges

Institutions

Disposal

Disposed after full trial

Average duration of full trial cases in days

Total pendency

Pending for more than one year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1951

14

943

1028

342

371.6

1141

334

1952

14

710

820

206

466.3

1020

421

1953

13

821

781

245

565.6

1128

509

1954

11

751

702

224

677.2

1230

679

1955

13

603

896

333

755.2

1227

728

1956

14

590

1034

..

..

1089

642

Note.- Institutions do not include restored or reviewed by transfer etc.

9. The figures present a disheartening picture. Notwithstanding the progressive fall in institutions there has been a steady increase in the total number of pending suits, the number of a year old suits and the average duration. The position appears to have been continuously deteriorating, though the number of the judiciary cannot be said to be inadequate. An important feature revealed by these statements is that a very large proportion of the pending suits are more than one year old suits, being as high as 44 per cent, in the courts of munsifs and 60 per cent, in the courts of subordinate judges.

The following statement shows the year of institution of the suits (including miscellaneous cases). Such a large proportion of old suits carried over year after year during the last many years clearly shows, that the judicial officers have not been devoting the required attention to the disposal of the more difficult and old suits, and instead, have preferred to dispose of comparatively lighter suits.

Case

Over 10 Year

1946

1947

1948

1949

1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

Total

Munsif's courts

54

5

8

13

24

43

126

412

1185

2295

5908

10053

Superior courts

2

4

5

3

7

11

28

71

191

467

1264

2053

10. The percentage of suits disposed of after full trial is very small. In 1955, it was about 23 per cent, in the courts of munsifs and about 37 per cent, in the courts of subordinate judges. As uncontested suits are generally disposed of within one year, old suits would be with negligible exceptions, contested suits. The magnitude of the problem can be realised, if we take into account the capacity of the judicial officers to dispose of contested suits in a year and the number of old suits (i.e., more than one year old)-which are likely to be contested suits-that are pending and are required to be disposed of. It would be noticed, that the figure of suits pending for over one year (column 8) except in 1951 far exceeds the contested disposal (column 5) in any particular year.

We have not got the exact figures of the contested disposal for the year 1956, but taking the average for the years 1951-55, it appears that at the present rate of disposal the existing strength of munsifs will take about 11/2 years and of subordinate judges about 21/2 years to finish the suits pending at the end of 1956, and if attention is given exclusively to old suits, fresh suits will have scarcely any chance of disposal in the immediate future. It appears that the situation has become very nearly unmanageable. We do not suggest that the existing strength of judicial officers is insufficient. On the basis of disposals of similar officers in other States the strength would seem to be adequate for current work.

In fact a former Chief Justice of Orissa has attributed the arrears to the "incompetency" of judicial officers and not to the inadequacy of personnel. We do not feel competent to express any opinion on this point. But until increased efficiency is brought about by better supervision, training and more business-like methods of work, on the basis of the current rate of disposals, the appointment of additional munsifs and subordinate judges for clearing off arrears appears to us to be unavoidable. It is not practicable to reduce and wipe out the huge volume of arrears except by the employment of additional personnel. We therefore recommend that some additional munsifs and subordinate judges may be appointed on temporary basis, exclusively for the purpose of disposing of the old cases.

11. The average duration of suits decided after full trial in 1955 was 596 days i.e. one year and 8 months in the courts of munsifs and 755 days i.e. a little more than two years in the courts of subordinate judges. These exceed the time limits suggested by us. It would be noticed, that the average duration has progressively increased since the year 1951. This increase in average duration, without any corresponding decrease in the number of pending old suits clearly suggests a slackness in the work of the judicial officers. This view derives support from the following two statements, which show the average disposal of munsifs and subordinate judges during the years 1954 to 1956.



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