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Report No. 14

7. City Civil and Sessions Court.-

We shall first consider how the constitution and set-up of the City Civil Court and the City Sessiory Court can be altered so as to afford greater relief to the Original Side of the High'Court. The City Civil Court started functioning with four judges including the chief judge with powers to try, as already stated, commercial causes valued upto Rs. 5,000 and other causes valued upto Rs. 10,000, subject to certain exceptions. From 23rd February, 1957 to 28th March, 1957, eighteen title suits, ten money suits, four commercial suits, seventeen applications for succession certificates and two petitions under the Guardian and Wards Act were filed in this Court.

We do not have complete statistics to show whether there has been adequate work for the judges of this Court or not; but, if the average monthly institution were to be approximately what it was during the period of about one month (figures for which are given above) we should think that the work of the Court is light. Even if the work were to considerably increase in view of what we propose to recommend, it can be satisfactorily and expeditiously dealt with by increasing the number of judges.

The West Bengal Judicial Reforms Committee recommended inter alia that mortgage suits were to be cognizable only by the High Court on the ground that they could be tried cheaply and expeditiously on the Original Side. The reason underlying the recommendations appear to be the fact that as many mortgage suits are uncontested, the mortgagee can without paying an ad valorem court fee get relief cheaply. There would appear to be no particular reason why a money­lender residing within the limits of the ordinary original jurisdiction of the High Court should be placed in a privileged position as compared with other money­lenders.

In our view, mortgage suits should be excluded from the jurisdiction of the High Court, provided the value of such a suit is Rs. 10,000 or less in view of our recommendations in the chapter on "Original Side of the High Court" that the City Civil Courts should have a pecuniary jurisdiction to try suits valued upto Rs. 10,000. We, therefore, recommend that entry 7 in the first schedule of the West Bengal Act XXI of 1953 should be deleted. Subject to the pecuniary limit suggested by us, suits of the nature specified in entries 2 to 6, 8, 9, 11 to 13 and 15 should also be instituted in the City Civil Court in order that the High Court may be left with time to adjudicate upon really complicated matters.

Therefore, we also recommend the repeal of the said entries in the first schedule. Section 10 of the Act provides for the retrial of a suit or proceeding in certain circumstances. There would appear to be no parallel provisions any where in India so far as civil suits are concerned. Such a provision is bound to affect the expeditious disposal of suits and proceedings and should, in our opinion, be repealed. In brief we recommend that the jurisdiction of the City Civil Court be raised to Rs. 10,000 in all matters and that all suits below that value now pending in the High Court be transferred to that court. If necessary the city civil court may be suitably strengthened.

Table No. 6

Nature of Proceeding

Pending at the beginning

Institutions

Disposal

Pending at the beginning

Institutions

Disposal

Pending at the beginning

Institutions

Disposal

Pending on Jan, 1957

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

Regular First Appeals

970

280

197

1053

345

193

1205

345

270

1280

Regular Second Appeals

4638

1430

1679

4389

1650

1401

4638

1021

765

4894

Appeals against Orders

625

477

436

666

420

568

518

420

355

583

Letters Patent or Special Appeals

4

12

3

13

9

7

15

8

10

13

Writs

353

701

459

595

647

585

657

1067

513

1211

Reviews

..

6

6

..

4

4

..

4

4

..

Revisions

2450

3118

2816

2752

2909

2529

3132

3225

2690

3667

References

3

6

5

4

5

6

3

6

6

3

Petitions for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court

11

32

30

13

37

28

22

58

57

23

Miscellaneous

8

13

15

6

12

13

5

9

11

3

Criminal Appeals

186

350

338

198

403

374

227

708

509

426

Criminal Revisions

631

1505

1699

437

1745

1609

573

1723

1617

679

Confirmation cases

..

4

3

1

3

4

..

11

6

5

References under section 307, Cr. P.C.

3

19

15

7

11

15

3

17

13

7

Other references

..

1

1

..

3

1

2

2

1

3

Miscellaneous

28

211

219

20

253

251

22

159

164

17

Table No. 7

Year of Institution

Nature of Proceeding

1944 and earlier

1945

1946

1947

1948

1949

1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

Regular First Appeals

..

..

1

1

4

10

18

51

146

193

205

315

336

Regular Second Appeals

8

2

..

7

66

23

61

558

539

875

841

1044

870

Appeals against orders

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

3

3

10

67

207

290

Letters Patent Appeals

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

1

..

..

3

2

6

Revisions

..

..

..

1

..

5

4

5

30

88

352

679

2503

Reference

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

Miscellaneous Cases

..

..

....

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

Criminal Appeals

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

95

331

Criminal Revisions

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

2

47

630

Confirmation cases

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

5

References Under section 307, Cr. P.C.

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

7

Other references

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

2

Miscell

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

16

Original Civil Suits

91

167

259

470

715

706

964

1222

1324

1433

1615

1854

2722

Appeals from Original Side Including Letters Patent Appeals and Writ Appeals

..

..

..

..

..

..

7

8

23

54

60

113

192

Criminal Appeals

..

..

..

1

..

...

..

..

..

..

..

1

4

Other including Insolvency cases, Company Matters and Criminal Sessions

1

2

1

Nil

1

2

4

6

11

6

38

60

146


Year of Institution

Nature of Proceeding

1944 and earlier

1945

1946

1947

1948

1949

1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

Regular First Appeals

..

..

1

1

4

10

18

51

146

193

205

315

336

Regular Second Appeals

8

2

..

7

66

23

61

558

539

875

841

1044

870

Appeals against orders

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

3

3

10

67

207

290

Letters Patent Appeals

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

1

..

..

3

2

6

Revisions

..

..

..

1

..

5

4

5

30

88

352

679

2503

Refere

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

Miscellaneous Cases

..

..

....

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

Criminal Appeals

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

95

331

Criminal Revisions

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

2

47

630

Confirmation cases

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

5

References Under section 307, Cr. P.C.

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

7

Other references

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

2

Miscell

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

16

Original Civil Suits

91

167

259

470

715

706

964

1222

1324

1433

1615

1854

2722

Appeals from Original Side Including Letters Patent Appeals and Writ Appeals

..

..

..

..

..

..

7

8

23

54

60

113

192

Criminal Appeals

..

..

..

1

..

...

..

..

..

..

..

1

4

Other including Insolvency cases, Company Matters and Criminal Sessions

1

2

1

Nil

1

2

4

6

11

6

38

60

146

A perusal of the figures given in Tables 6 and 7, will show that the criminal judicial work is also in considerable arrears. Section 4 of the West Bengal Act XX of 1953 provides for the appointment of the Chief Judge and the other judges of the City Civil Court as Chief Judge and other judges of the City Sessions Court also. The first schedule to the City Sessions Courts Act, 1953, setting out the cases that the court cannot try contains the following eight entries:-

1. An offence punishable under section 131, section 132, section 133 or section 134 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. An offence punishable under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

3. An offence punishable under section 396 of the Indian Penal Code.

4. An offence punishable under section 468 of section 477A of the Indian Penal Code.

5. Any criminal conspiracy to commit or any attempt to commit or any abetment of any of the offences specified in clauses (3) and (4),

6. Any criminal conspiracy to commit or any abetment of the offence specified in clause (2).

7. An offence punishable under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.

8. Any criminal conspiracy to commit any of the offences specified in clause (1).

In our opinion the schedule is full of anomalies. For example, whereas an offence under section 302 I.P.C. for which the court can impose a sentence of death or imprisonment for life is exclusively triable by the High Court, an offence under section 303 for which the only penalty is the sentence of death is triable by the City Sessions Court.

The jurisdiction of the court is more limited than even that contemplated by the West Bengal Judicial Reforms Committee which recommended1 that "the ordinary criminal work arising within the limits of the ordinary original jurisdiction of this Court should be done by a City Sessions Court". This recommendation was, it appears, not accepted.

1. Report, p. 20.

The City Sessions Courts in Bombay and Madras which have been established much earlier than the Calcutta Court possess all the powers which the High Court did in the respective States in exercise of its Ordinary Original Criminal Jurisdiction. The evidence given before us revealed that the City Sessions Courts in those States were functioning efficiently. There is no reason why the court should not be able to deal with these matters in Calcutta. We therefore recommend that the City Sessions Court be given exclusive jurisdiction and the Ordinary Original Criminal jurisdiction of the High Court be abolished. This will result in a substantial saving of the judge power in the High Court.



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