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Report No. 14

Table No. 3

Regular Suits in The Courts of Munsifs

Year

Institutions during the Year

Total disposal during the year

Disposal after full trial

Average duration in days of full trial cases

Pendency at the end of the year

No. of more than year old suits

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1951

83051

80063

21129

327

61985

22794

1952

87090

86036

20445

392

63039

22209

1953

1,21,262

99625

22582

477

84676

24351

1954

1,35,027

1,09,862

22561

565

1,09,841

34314

1955

1,41,095

1,24, 200

23758

537

1,26,786

51029

1956

1,39,602

146.99

..

..

1,19,414

60223

Note.- Institutions include suits revived during the year and otherwise received.

Table No. 4

Regular Suits in The Courts of Civil Judges

Year

Institutions during the year

Total disposal during the year

Disposal after full trial

Average duration in days of full trial cases

Pendency at the end of the year

No. of more than one year old suits

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1951

11837

12229

2334

354

6883

2815

1952

12500

11674

2265

340

7709

3468

1953

4,8113

7354

1041

502

5166

2743

1954

4995

4692

1085

541

5469

3059

1955

5037

4717

1103

618

5789

3338

1956

4909

5499

..

..

4509

2719

Note.- Institutions include suits revived during the year and otherwise received.

It will appear from these statements that the problem of arrears is very acute in the subordinate courts. The number of pending cases rose in Munsif's Courts from 61,985 in 1951 to 1,19,414 in 1956 that is nearly twice the number in 1951. It is true, that both Munsifs and Civil Judges, were able to cope with the current institutions during the year 1956, but the real problem, in the subordinate courts is not so much the capacity of the existing judicial strength to deal with the current institutions, as the huge mass of arrears accumulated year after year awaiting disposal. The rising average duration of cases disposed of after full trial and the large proportion of more than one year old pending suits are matters of grave concern.

The average duration of contested suits rose from 327 days in 1951 to 537 days (i.e., one year and about 6 months) in 1955 in Munsif's Courts and from 354 days in 1951 to 618 days (i.e., 1 year and 81/2 months) in 1955 in Civil Judge's Courts. The percentage of more than one year old suits in Munsif's Courts rose from 32 in 1954 to 55 in 1956. In Civil Judge's Courts, the percentage of more than one year old suits was 42 in 1956. The rise in the average duration of cases without a corresponding decrease in old suits clearly shows that the judicial officers have not devoted the required attention to the disposal of old suits and have instead preferred to dispose of comparatively lighter suits.

The gravity of the problem of arrears can be appreciated further from the fact that the percentage of contested suits in the courts is really very small, that is, about 19 to 20 per cent, in the courts of Munsifs and about 23 per cent. in the courts of Civil Judges. Taking into account the average capacity of the existing judicial strength to dispose of the contested cases, and assuming as we have done in earlier chapters, that more than one year old cases are likely to be contested suits, we have calculated, that it would take the Munsifs roughly about 21/4 years and the Civil Judges about 2 years to dispose of the old cases pending at the end of 1956, provided the entire strength of the judicial officers is exclusively assigned to the task of disposing of these cases. The position in October 1957 has been described by the High Court as follows:

"The largest numbers of pending suits triable by a Civil Judge are 617 in Kanpur, 412 in Agra (out of which 90 are pending for three years and 78 for four years), 387 in Varanasi, 375 in Meerut (out of which 70 are pending for three years) 260 in Moradabad, 258 in Lucknow, 255 in Farrukhabad and 141 in Mathura (out of which 51 are pending for two years and 28 for three years). Through Circular Letter No, 22/VIIIh-13, dated 18th March, 1949 the Court has ordered that Civil Judges and Munsifs should not fix a date more than three months ahead for final hearing of a regular suit. In many courts of Civil Judges and Munsifs there are so many regular suits ready for final hearing that dates for disposal cannot be fixed in all of them within the next three months and some of them have to be adjourned sine die. There are 174 suits lying in courts of Civil Judge, Meerut, without a date for final hearing being fixed, 90 suits in Aligarh, 88 in Ballia and 57 in Mathura."

"it appears that very heavy arrears of regular suits are pending in Munsifs Courts all over the State. Among the heaviest arrears are 7536 suits in Azamgarh, 5589 in Gonda, 5232 in Faizabad, 4880 in Kanpur, 4776 in Deoria, 4076 in Allahabad, 3861 in Jaunpur, 3851 in Sultanpur and 3583 in Meerut. Cause lists of some Munsifs are so congested that no dates for final hearing are available within the next three months and some of them have to be adjourned sine die. There are large numbers of such suits lying without a date for final hearing being fixed; for instance 1569 suits in Meerut, 1370 in Ghaziabad, 1291 in Pratapgarh, 1100 in Mathura, 1087 in Sultanpur, 750 in Jaunpur, 638 in Agra and 503 in Aligarh."

A large number of the pending suits are three to four years old.

24. Courts of District Judges, Civil & Sessions Judges and Civil Judges.-

The situation is no better in the courts of District Judges and Civil and Sessions

Judges as would be apparent from the accompanying Tables (Nos. 5 & 6), showing their civil and criminal work during the years 1954-1956. In these statements the civil appellate work done by the Civil Judges and the criminal work done by them in their capacity as Assistant Sessions Judges has also been indicated.

Regular suits.- It will be seen that there are huge arrears of civil suits, civil and criminal appeals and sessions cases in these courts. The number of pending civil suits in the courts of District Judges rose from 234 in 1954 to 526 in 1956; the average duration of contested suits in these courts also rose from 417 days in 1954 to 708 days in 1956. In the court of Civil and Sessions judges, the proportion of more than one year old suits is nearly 50 per cent. of the pending cases.

Civil appeals.- The arrears of civil appeals are staggering. It would appear that the number of pending regular civil appeals rose from 20,518 in 1954 to 26,922 at the end of the year 1956. Of these, nearly 43 per cent. were more than one year old. A large proportion of the civil appeals as many as 8459 is pending in the courts of Civil judges, out of which nearly 62 per cent. are appeals pending for more than one year. In this connection, the High Court has observed.-

"There are huge arrears of civil appeals (including revenue and miscellaneous appeals) in many districts and there is hardly any regular or planned disposal of them for want of time, the District and Sessions Judges being occupied with criminal work and Civil Judges, with regular suits and sessions trials. There is very little disposal of civil appeals in a majority of courts of District and Sessions Judges; most of the disposal is in courts of Civil Judges, but even they have no time to dispose of them systematically." The High Court has also stated that in most of the Districts, more than 2 to 3 years old appeals were also pending.

Sessions Cases.- On the criminal side, a large number of sessions cases are awaiting disposal. It would appear from the figures that the courts of session, including the Civil Judges who are empowered as Assistant Sessions Judges, have been unable to deal with even the current institutions, resulting in progressive accumulation of sessions cases. What is even more shocking is the large number of a year old sessions cases. Thus, the number of pending sessions cases rose from 3145 in 1954 to 4253 in 1956. In this connection, the High Court observed:-

"There are no less than 16 districts in which more than 100 sessions trials are pending; three districts have more than 200 sessions trials pending, namely Jhansi (227), Meerut (226) and Unnao (215). Under Circular Letter No. 73/VIII-a-14, dated 29th October, 1948 ' the District and Sessions Judges and Civil and Sessions Judges are required not to fix a date more than two months ahead for disposal of a sessions trial not punishable with death; consequently in every judgeship there are some sessions trials pending without a date for disposal being fixed. In many judgeships large number of sessions trials are lying without a date for disposal being fixed;. In capital sentence cases dates for disposal are generally fixed within the next two months and on account of this priority being given to them disposal of other cases is considerably delayed.



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