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Report No. 14

31. Slip system.-

Another method of assessing the work of the judicial officers in Uttar Pradesh is called the "slip system". It appears that when High Court Judges hear matters in appeal or otherwise, they give their comments about the quality of the work of the judicial officers on certain printed slips and these slips are collected and at the end of the year are referred to for the purpose of giving confidential reports on the work of individual judicial officers.

32. Over posting of cases.-

There seems to prevail a very undesirable practice of posting too many cases in all the courts. A Civil and Sessions Judge told us that he fixed as many as 40 to 50 cases per day for hearing and that this was done solely for the reason that requests for adjournments may be met. This naturally leads to cases being heard piecemeal. It was stated that sometimes even sessions cases are not heard from day to day.

33. Judgements.-

Some rules have been laid down by the High Court to ensure that the lower courts do not delay delivery of the judgments for a long time. It has been laid down that judgments in sessions cases should be delivered within 14 days of the conclusion of the trial and in civil cases within a month. But we were informed that sometimes in civil cases judgments were often delayed and in order to circumvent the rule, there was a practice among the judicial officers of giving a date for re-hearing arguments so as to postpone the date for delivery of judgments. Such a practice should be sternly controlled.

This can easily be done if superior officers care to apply their minds to the task of supervision. The period allowed for delivery of judgment particularly in sessions cases is far too long and should be curtailed. A limit of fourteen days from the date when evidence is concluded should be laid down for delivery of judgment in all civil cases. Our general recommendations with regard to the delivery of judgment in civil and criminal cases are equally applicable to this State.

34. Concentration of courts.-

A peculiar feature of this State is that civil courts are generally located at the district headquarters. There are in all 51 district headquarters and 227 tehsil headquarters; but all the courts of Civil Judges and Civil and Sessions Judges are located in 49 towns (all District Headquarters) and 139 courts of munsifs are located in 85 towns out of which 51 are district headquarters.1 There is a considerable volume of opinion in favour of decentralization of courts. It was stated that on account of long distances the courts are not easily accessible to the litigants, save at considerable cost and inconvenience and that concentration of courts results in the concentration of work in the hands of a few lawyers with consequent adjournments and delays.

While there was opposition to the proposal for the dispersal of courts particularly by lawyers on the ground of lack of buildings, the absence of a Bar and the fear that a single judge in an isolated station may become a "dictator", we feel that the difficulties are overstated. Decentralisation of courts has been carried out successfully in all the Southern States where even courts of subordinate judges are located outside district headquarters and also in West Bengal.

There is no reason why it should not work satisfactorily in Uttar Pradesh. Once a beginning is made and courts are moved to sub-divisional headquarters the necessary facilities will spring up. If a tehsil can provide sufficient work to keep a munsif fully occupied, they can be posted to tehsil headquarters also. The extra munsifs whose appointment is necessary to clear off arrears can be asked to sit at outlying stations. When the judiciary is separated from the executive it may be possible to carry the process of decentralisation further by conferring in suitable cases civil and criminal jurisdiction on one person.

It is a matter for regret that though such decentralisation was recommended by the Uttar Pradesh Judicial Reforms Committee, nothing has been done in this direction so far.

1. Based on the Administration Report for the year 1955.

35. Separation of judiciary and executive.-

The scheme of separation now in force was introduced under executive orders in eight Districts in 1949, and was later extended to twelve more districts. Under this scheme, the officers of the Revenue Department were divided into two classes, Judicial Magistrates-cum­Assistant Collectors and Executive Magistrates-cum-Assistant Collectors. The Judicial Magistrates-cum-Assistant Collectors were later designated as "Judicial Officers". These officers hear all cases under the Indian Penal Code, which are triable by a First Class Magistrate.

They also hear all suits and proceedings under the U.P. Tenancy Act, certain cases under the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act and under other miscellaneous Acts. Executive Magistrates on the other hand hear cases arising under Cr. P.C., all suits and proceedings under the U.P. Land Revenue Act, and other miscellaneous local and special Acts. They are also empowered to hold enquiries, record dying declarations, confessions and statements under section 174. There are also Tahsildar Magistrates.

The Judicial Officers are under the control not of the District Magistrate but of the Commissioner of the Division through an Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) who supervises their work. He scrutinises the fortnightly and monthly returns submitted by the judicial officers and is enjoined to inspect their Courts at least once a month. He is also empowered to call for the records of the judicial officers. Confidential reports about the quality of the work of judicial officers are written by the Sessions Judges, a copy of which is forwarded to the Additional Magistrate (Judicial), who in turn comments on the quantum of the work done by the Magistrate and the manner in which he handles his cases. His reports are forwarded to the Commissioner.

A separate cadre of judicial officers has now been constituted. Recruitment is made on the basis of a competitive examination on the same lines as in the case of recruitment to the judicial or the executive service. Their scale of pay is the same as that of an officer in the State Civil Executive Service, but they cannot be transferred to the Executive Service. The field of promotion for these officers, is however, very much restricted. They can aspire only to be promoted as A.D.M. (Judicial). Their prospects, postings and promotion are entirely in the hands of the Government, whose discretion in these matters is unfettered.

36. Separation only in form.-

It is evident that all that has happened in these so-called separation Districts is that the trial work is no longer in the hands of the same officers who have executive duties. The High Court has no control whatsoever over these Judicial Officers. They continue to be under the executive Government; and the Commissioner of the division-an executive officer. It is thus clear that the system as it prevails in this State, while it may be a step towards separation, is not real separation for it lacks the essential feature of separation, which is a criminal judiciary independent of executive control. The sooner this pseudo system of separation is replaced by a genuine one, the better.

37. Other criminal courts.-

Leaving out of consideration special classes of Magistrates like the Canal and Railway Magistrates we find at the bottom of hierarchy, Tehsildar Magistrates and Sub-Registrar Magistrates. These Magistrates have only second class powers and as they have heavy departmental duties, the amount of time which they are able to devote to their magisterial work is very little. Above the Tehsildar Magistrates are the Sub-Divisional Magistrates, who in non-separation Districts try cases under the Indian Penal Code and deal with other criminal judicial work.

In separation districts, their judicial work is limited to cases arising under the Criminal Procedure Code. But both in the separation and non-separation districts, Tehsildars function as second-class magistrates under the control of the District Magistrate through the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Pending the introduction of separation they may be replaced by full time magistrates drawn if, necessary, from the revenue department, or from judicial officers.

38. Committal proceedings.-

Committal proceedings are invariably done by First Class Magistrates and not by Magistrates of the Second Class. This would seem to unnecessarily take up the time of a higher class of officers. So long as the class of Second Class magistrates exists there is no reason why suitable officers of that cadre should not be empowered to commit cases to the court of session as has been done in other States.

39. Abolition of Third Class Magistrates.-

A special feature about the magistracy in U.P. is abolition of Third Class Magistrates following the recommendation of the U.P. Committee.

40. Honorary Magistrates.-

The system of Honorary Magistrates has been in existence in this State for a very long time. Their number at present is 357. We were told that the honorary magistrates disposed of nearly 25 per cent. of criminal case work in the State.

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