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Report No. 14

19. District Courts.-

The highest court of Original Jurisdiction in the District is the one presided over by District Judge. Besides exercising administrative control over the subordinate judiciary in the District and disposing of civil appeals valued upto Rs. 10,000 and also sessions cases and criminal appeals against the judgments of First-Class Magistrates and Assistant Sessions Judges, the District Judge is called upon to try matters arising out of a number of special enactments such as are enumerated below:

(i) Under the Land Alienation Act, the District Judge has been vested with exclusive revisional jurisdiction against the orders passed by Revenue and other officers under the Act.

(ii) Under the Estates Acquisition Act, the District Judge has been given summary revisional jurisdiction against orders passed during cadastral survey. (There are about 500 such cases pending in Alipore District Court).

(iii) Divorce cases under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Such cases are exclusively triable by the District Judge.

(iv) Divorce suits under the Hindu Marriage Act. These are to be heard by the District Judge or any other court notified. But as yet no other court has been so authorised.

(v) Railway Compensation cases under the Railways Act.

(vi) Transfer petitions to the Sessions Judge under section 528 Criminal Procedure Code.

(vii) Revisional jurisdiction against orders passed by Panchayat Courts.

(viii) Appeals against orders not recognising trade unions under the Trade Unions Act.

(ix) Matters under the Payment of Wages Act.

(x) Special Revisional jurisdiction under the Indian Oil Seeds Act.

Table No. 14

Regular Civil Suits

Small Cause Suits

Year

No. of officers

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

1954

39

6532

3234

3964

2700

3942

901

2109

2239

847

56

1955

35

6642

3144

3557

2618

4105

399

2446

2231

1232

75

1956

36

6723

3224

3291

2781

4496

1307

2909

2465

1786

189


Civil Miscellaneous case and Petition

Civil Appeals

Civil Miscellaneous Appeal

Year

Pending at the beginning of the

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Below one year

Over one year

Below one year

Over one year

Below one year

Over one year

1954

1535

3841

3947

1250

224

2235

158

3365

923

1287

352

73

1161

295

80

1955

1474

3268

3773

1304

195

2209

205

3892

1065

1364

376

98

1730

287

46

1956

1499

3926

3591

1614

278

2429

175

2766

962

1673

332

79

1739

428

99

(xi) The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act which provides for the trial of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act by a Special Judge, takes away much of Sessions Judge's time as generally he acts as the Special Judge. Of course, where there is an Additional Sessions Judge, he is invariably empowered to deal with such cases. Experience has shown that generally petty corruption cases, which would ordinarily have been tried by magistrates as offences under the Penal Code are sent up to the Special Judge for trial in view of the procedural advantages available under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The proceedings under the following Acts have normally to be initiated in the Court of the District Judge:-

(i) Land Acquisition Act.

(ii) Guardians and Wards Act.

(iii) Under section 92, Civil Procedure Code.

The High Court has not authorised the District Judge to transfer cases under the Guardians and Wards Act to Subordinate Judges nor has it authorised any officer subordinate to District Judge to deal with these matters. We would-suggest that powers to try and determine cases under special enactments be more widely conferred on subordinate judges.

The Subordinate Judges and Munsifs have been invested with powers to issue succession certificates within their pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction.

A perusal of the figures given in the accompanying Table (Table No. 15) shows that the total number of pending regular suits and appeals in the district courts has been progressively increasing. Immediate steps will have to be taken to bring down the arrears by appointing additional district judges at least for a term. This will be all the more necessary in view of the recent enhancement of the appellate jurisdiction of the District Judge which we have suggested should be given retrospective effect.

We have earlier noticed the chaotic conditions that obtained in the Alipore courts at one time with regard to civil appellate work as revealed in an inspection note and made suggestions in that behalf.

Table No. 15

Civil Suits

Small Cause Suits

Miscellaneous Civil Cases and Petitions

Year

No. of officers

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institutions

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposed

Balance

Below one year

Over one year

Below one year

Over one year

Below one year

Over one year

1954

27

231

195

114

155

103

..

..

..

..

..

3193

2913

2621

1449

2036

1955

29

258

259

143

195

119

..

..

..

..

..

3487

4734

3737

2617

1629

1956

30

312

643

245

447

136

..

..

..

..

..

4160

6077

4246

4128

1839


Civil Appeals

Civil Miscellaneous Appeals

Year

Pending at the beginning of the year

Instituting

Disposal

Balance

Pending at the beginning of the year

Instituting

Disposed

Balance

Below ne year

Above one year

Below ne year

Above one year

1954

2787

4342

1304

2421

453

894

2589

1054

903

25

1955

2872

4465

1267

2644

572

925

2842

960

1236

40

1956

3218

4242

1006

2912

1002

1238

4987

1106

3117

182



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