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Report No. 14

29. Honorary Magistrates.- There are no honorary magistrates in this State.

30. Registrar system.-

In the Cuttack judgeship, there is a Registrar attached to the District Judge's Court. He looks after the working of the Nazarat, Record room, copying department, accounts and receives plaints, execution petitions, memoranda of appeals etc. Affidavits for all the civil courts of Cuttack are sworn before him. He also attends to the ordinary correspondence of the district judge e.g., proposals of expenditure in the judgeship, annual increments of the staff, leave applications of the ministerial officers, preparation of budgets, scrutiny of indents for forms and stationery, scrutiny of monthly and quarterly returns and administrative reports of the courts etc. This system is reported to have worked quite satisfactorily. The High Court has recommended its extension also to Berhampur where there is a fairly heavy concentration of courts.

31. Concentration of courts.-

The pattern is different in North and South Orissa. Revenue districts in South Orissa districts follow the Madras pattern of being divided into Taluks but in North Orissa the districts are divided on the Bengal pattern and there is no taluka system. Criminal courts have been decentralised and established in all taluka headquarters in South Orissa, but in North Orissa all courts, civil and criminal are concentrated at district and sub-divisional headquarters. This renders any attempt to decentralise courts in this area difficult. The Bar is also likely to resist efforts in this direction but nevertheless some steps should be taken to effect decentralisation even if the progress made is gradual.

32. Court-fees.-

There were wide-spread complaints that the court fees levied in the State were exorbitant. In 1947, a surcharge of 4 annas per rupee was imposed on the fees leviable under the Court Fees Act, 1870. This rate was doubled in 1951. The court fees on suits of small value in this State are the highest in India...arid" the burden is particularly great as about 94 per cent, of the suits in this State are valued below Rs. 2,000. We were told that the increase in the court fee has greatly hit the poorer litigants, with the result that the doors of the courts have been closed to many of them and there has been an appreciable fall in institutions of civil suits since 1951.

33. Panchayat courts.-

Panchayat courts have been established under the Grama Panchayat Act, 1948 throughout the State with the exception of the District of Koraput. Details regarding their constitution and powers will be found in the Tables 'n our chapter on Panchayats.

The following statement of the number of cases disposed of by the Panchayat Courts for the years 1954-56 shows that they are doing progressively increasing work. There appears, however, to be scope for popularising these courts, increasing their number and enhancing their pecuniary jurisdiction to civil matters which is now limited to Rs. 25.

Year

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institutions

Disposal

Balance

1

2

3

4

5

1954

Civil

374

987

948

413

Criminal

1787

1730

303

303

1955

Civil Criminal

413

1815

1684

544

Criminal

303

3165

2929

539

1956

Civil*

345

973

997

411

Criminal*

164

1200

1127

237

*. The figures pertaining to the year 1956 are not complete.

Considering the work done by the Panchayat Courts during the year 1955, it is evident that they have great future potentialities and are bound to be increasingly useful in relieving the subordinate courts of their petty civil and criminal work.



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