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Report No. 14

16. Training.-

A comprehensive scheme for training Munsifs after recruitment is in operation. The candidates remain on probation for two years during which period they are required to undergo training in various departments in the offices of the District and Sessions Judge and the Collector and pass certain departmental examinations. After he receives certificates from the District and Sessions Judge and the Collector to whom he is attached for training that he has diligently and successfully completed the course of training and after he passes the departmental examinations, a Munsif is confirmed on his post.

During the period of training the probationer has to sit with a Munsif and a Subordinate Judge for about 4 months, watch the proceedings in Court, prepare the case records and also study the working of the various administrative departments under the charge of the Munsif and the Subordinate Judge. Thereafter, he is placed under the Collector of the District for receiving training in general revenue work and magisterial work for about three months. He is then invested with the powers of a Magistrate of the Second Class, and actually tries cases and then reverts to the office of the District and Sessions Judge to receive training in civil and sessions work and to study the working of the various departments of the district court.

He submits case records prepared by him to the District Judge for scrutiny. He has also to undergo survey and settlement training for a definite period. Training is also imparted in the conduct of cases by the Government Pleader and the Public Prosecutor. During the probationary period of two years, the candidate has to appear for departmental tests in tenancy laws and other laws both civil and criminal, High Court Civil Rules and Orders and accounts rules as contained in the High Court Civil Rules and Orders. He has also to pass a written and oral test in Hindustani by the higher standard.

No doubt the system of training is comprehensive. But very often due to shortage of officers probationary Munsifs are straightaway and without their training being completed posted to courts to try cases. We were told that due to a shortage of officers the period of training has very often been curtailed; and it has even been dispensed with in some cases. We were told that of the munsifs recruited in 1955 none had completed his training and of the fifteen recruited in 1956 eleven had been withdrawn from training after periods ranging from one week to five months and posted to courts.

This is very unsatisfactory as it is not necessary in this State for those recruited as munsifs to have had any practice at the Bar. We feel that the leaving of courts without officers is a lesser evil than posting raw and untrained persons as judges as they are more likely to do harm by their inexperience than to do good by disposing of cases. If it becomes necessary to dispense with training that should be done only in the case of candidates who have had experience at the Bar.

There is, however, no scheme for training Subordinate Judges in sessions work before they are vested with the powers of an Assistant Sessions Judge. Only a few selected senior Munsifs are vested with powers of the First-Class Magistrate and given training in criminal work for a period of two years. We consider that training is essential, so that persons who will ultimately be sessions judges, will have obtained a sufficient background of criminal law- and a knowledge of the working of magistrates' courts.

17. Munsifs' Courts.-

The regular Civil Courts in this State are constituted under the provisions of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act (XII of 1887). Some years ago the pecuniary jurisdiction of all Munsifs was raised to Rs. 2,000. The High Court has powers, however, to confer upon Munsifs powers to try suits valued upto Rs. 3,000 and even upto Rs. 5,000 depending upon the length of service of the officer upon whom such enlarged powers are conferred. In view of the fall in the value of money we recommend that all munsifs should be empowered to try suits upto Rs. 5,000 provided that they have completed the requisite training.

It will appear from the accompanying Table (Table No. 12) that about 90 per cent. of the suits are triable by Munsifs. Table No. 13 shows the judicial business transacted by these officers during the triennium preceding 1957.

Table No. 12

year

Not exceeding Rs. 1,000

Exceeding Rs. 1,000 but not exceeding Rs. 2,000

Exceeding Rs. 2000 but not exceeding Rs. 5,000

Exceeding Rs. 5,000 but not exceeding Rs. 10,000

Exceeding Rs. 10,000

Remarks

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1954

179964

4331

2749

916

839

1955

167380

4357

2842

891

783

1956

125912

4027

2742

904

814

Table No. 13

Original suits

Small cause suits

Civil Miscellaneous Cause and Petition

Year

No. of Officers

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Below one year

Above one year

Below one year

Above one year

Below one year

Above one year

1954

82

51521

157383

156994

42288

12908

3978

13412

13186

4244

235

8149

18978

19008

7468

920

1955

83

55374

146059

150999

38976

14518

4303

12031

12769

3426

389

8386

18587

18413

7398

1373

1956

87

53664

106899

113151

33709

17804

3706

10007

9996

3396

470

8769

17832

17458

7787

1726

From the figures given in the above Table it will be seen that though the total number of pending suits has not increased and has even fallen the number of suits and other proceedings pending for over a year has been steadily rising. This is due in part at least to a shortage of officers, the recruitment of inferior personnel, and the absence of training. This state of affairs in which about one-third of the pending suits are over a year old can be set right only by an increase in the number of munsifs. Such a measure is in our view immediately needed to prevent even a more difficult state of affairs supervening.

18. Courts of Subordinate Judges.-

The situation in the Courts of Subordinate Judges is no better as will be seen from the figures given in the following Table (Table No. 14). Although the total number of pending suits has remained almost constant, the number of year old suits has increased. The figures given in the Table No. 13, will show that the Subordinate Judges have disposed of a substantial number of civil regular and miscellaneous appeals. If they are relieved of their civil appellate work, the work in these courts can be brought under control.



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