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Report No. 14

Statement Showing Details of The Proceedings Pending on.-1-57 According to The Year of Institution

year

First Appeals against decrees

Second Appeals against decrees

Appeals against orders

Writs

Civil revisions

Criminal Appeals

Criminal revisions

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1943

1

..

..

..

..

..

..

1944

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1945

1

..

..

..

..

..

..

1946

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1947

1

..

..

..

..

..

..

1948

4

1

..

..

..

..

..

1949

9

1

..

..

1

..

..

1950

15

1

..

..

..

..

..

1951

42

5

2

..

..

..

..

1952

44

18

3

6

..

..

..

1953

36

69

6

..

..

..

..

1954

2

114

19

98

9

15

..

1955

40

188

39

151

63

99

5

1956

62

286

77

229

159

175

117

Total

277

683

146

484

232

189

122

21. Although we have suggested in the Chapter on "Civil Appeals" that the appellate jurisdiction of District Judges may be raised to Rs. 10,000, the immediate adoption of such a course does not appear to be advisable in this State as the number of suits valued below Rs. 5,000 are very few, and its adoption will result in practically abolishing the first appellate jurisdiction of the High Court as will be shown by the table below:

Year

Total No. of suits

Suits Below Rs. 5,000

No. of Suits between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000

No. of Suits above Rs. 10,000

No. of Suits of which value cannot be estimated

1954

14376

14092

153

129

2

1955

12848

12613

123

111

1

1956

12920

12696

98

91

35

22. According to the rules of the High Court, a single judge has no power to hear first appeals. He can hear second appeals only upto the value of Rs. 2,000 and criminal appeals where the substantive sentence does not exceed imprisonment for one year. Even if for special local reasons, it is not possible to enhance the power of a single judge to the full extent recommended by us, we are of the view that the powers of a single judge should be enlarged to enable him to hear all first appeals upto Rs. 10,000, all second appeals and criminal appeals where the sentence of imprisonment does not exceed seven years.

This will result in a considerable saving of judge-power and there will be greater expedition in the disposal of proceedings. It is true that members of the Cuttack Bar in their evidence before us expressed themselves against any increase in the powers of a single judge. We are, however, confident that the opposition which really stems from a disinclination to change, will disappear as soon as its working demonstrates its advantages which have been appreciated in other States.

23. The chief difficulty felt by the High Court has been, that in the past, with the strength of only four judges, it was not practicable to form the requisite number of Benches. With the recent appointment of a fifth judge, this difficulty should now disappear. It will appear from the statement of work done by the High Court that in 1954, when the High Court had five judges, its disposals showed an appreciable increase. With five judges the court can function with at least three benches sitting continuously, one division Bench doing civil work, another division Bench criminal work and a single bench doing other work.

24. The High Court rules provide that writ matters can be normally heard only by a Division Bench presided over by the Chief Justice. Whatever may have been the reasons for enacting the rule, it appears to have led to a large number of writ petitions remaining pending for over a year. We would, therefore, suggest the abrogation or modification of the rule.

25. Criminal work in subordinate courts.-

Separation of the judiciary from the executive has not yet been effected in this State although detailed schemes for this purpose have been worked out by an expert committee. It is learnt that the State Government has decided to introduce separation in some of the coastal districts, as an experimental measure.

The bulk of the criminal work at district and sub-divisional headquarters is done by deputy magistrates and sub-deputy magistrates borne on Orissa Administrative Service and Orissa Subordinate Administrative Service respectively. Some munsifs have also been invested with magisterial powers.

26. The following statement shows the work done by magistrates during the years 1953-55.

Year

No. of magistrates

Institutions

Disposal

Average duration in days for cases under IPC

Average duration in days for cases under special laws

General average in days

Pendency

1953

..

40134

52316

N.A.

N.A.

29.1

9419

1954

302 St. plus 22 munsifs

45737

45403

50.7

15.7

31.1

9753

1955

302 St. plus 16 munsifs

47739

43009

49.9

17.3

32

14483

St.= Stipendiary Magistrates

N.A. = Not available

It will be noticed that in 1955, the last year for which the statistical data was made available to us, while the number of institution was 47,739, the disposal amounted only to 43,900. The average duration of cases under the Indian Penal Code is high. There are also a number of a year old cases. The position in 1955 was thus described by the High Court in its Report on the administration of Criminal Justice in the State of Orissa for the year 1955:-

"The pendency of cases before the Magistrates has considerably gone up at the end of the year under report in comparison with that of the preceding year. The duration in the trial of cases by them including commitment proceedings, also has increased when compared with the corresponding figures of the preceding year. As in the previous year, many of the subordinate judges and munsifs continued to lend assistance in the disposal of criminal cases during the year. The unsatisfactory state of the criminal file was more conspicuous in the districts of Ganjam, Puri, Cuttack, Balasore, Sambalpur and Koraput as was in the last year. Long duration in the disposal of cases in the courts of Magistrates is noticed in the districts of Ganjam, Balasore, Kenonjhar and Boudh.

It is reported that this long duration is partly due to frequent transfer of magistrates resulting in de-novo trial of the cases and partly due to their engagement in the numerous executive functions or absence on leave. The District Magistrate, Ganjam reports that delay in service of processes also contributed much towards delay in disposal of cases and he suggests that in order to effectively prevent such delay the existing system of getting the summons served through police agency should be discontinued and the North Orissa system of Nazarat be immediately established.

In spite of the special drive undertaken for the disposal of the year-old cases, the Court finds that the unsatisfactory state of the criminal file specially in the coastal districts of the State and also in Koraput still persists and they observe that the only solution that can be thought of in the matter is the immediate implementation of the scheme for separation of the Judiciary from the Executive."

27. We were also told that on account of the uncertainty with regard to the implementation of separation of the executive and the judiciary, the executive magistrates display a lack of interest in their court work. A feeling seems to be prevalent among them that their judicial work is of little consequence and is not taken into account in determining their fitness for promotion. This unhealthy trend must be controlled. If such a feeling is allowed to continue, till separation is introduced, the judicial magistrates will have a legacy of heavy arrears, which will affect their efficiency and even undermine. the success of the scheme.

It is therefore imperative that pending the introduction of separation, Government should make it clear to the executive magistrates that slackness in their judicial work will not be tolerated and that neglect of this part of their duties will be visited with as serious consequences as neglect of their administrative duties.

28. Prosecutions in magistrate's Courts are conducted by trained police officers, except in the Districts of Cuttack and Ganjam, where as an experimental measure, assistant public prosecutors recruited from the Bar have been appointed. They start on a salary of Rs. 250 p.m. and have a status equivalent to that of a deputy superintendent of police. The appointments are made temporarily for a period of five years. The Assistant public prosecutors, function under the administrative control of the police department. It was stated that if the experiment proved successful, it would be extended to other districts.



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