AdvocateKhoj
Login : Advocate | Client
Home Post Your Case My Account Law College Law Library
    

Report No. 14

20. Supervision and inspection.-

The existence of such a state of affairs so close to the High Court shows that inspection of the subordinate courts by the High Court is most essential, yet the practice of a regular and systematic inspection is not in vogue. The Judges do however, inspect courts when they find the time. During the last five years, we understand, only the Courts at Alipore Sadar, Howrah Sadar, Presidency Small Causes Court and the Courts in Andamans were inspected by the High Court. We understand that while the court is fully alive to the need for such inspections, it is not able to depute judges for this work due to the congestion in the High Court itself.

Though the High Court Civil Rules and Orders contain a rule to the effect that the District Judge is to inspect courts at Sadar every year and the courts in mofussil stations once in two years the rule seems to be more observed in the breach. We were told that inspection by the District Judges was not insisted upon by the High Court as the High Court Judges know that the District Judges were over-burdened with work. Recently however the High Court has begun to insist on District Judges inspecting subordinate courts regularly. But it is learnt that some District Judges make inspection duty a pretext to avoid judicial work. This tendency should be controlled but proper inspections nevertheless insisted upon.

The High Court has not laid down any minimum standard as to the quantum of work that has to be done by a judicial officer during a particular period of time. We were told that there was an attempt at laying down certain standards when Mr. Simpson was the Registrar and that it was found unworkable. There is no rule fixing any time-limit for delivery of judgments; but generally, Sessions Judges deliver the charges to the Jury within seven days; in civil cases judgments, we were told, are delivered usually within 14 days. In the High Court, there used at one time to be considerable delays in the delivery of judgments but we understand that the Chief Justice has introduced a return in which matters reserved for judgments for over a period of time have to be shown. The introduction of this return has had, it appears, the desired effect and at present there appear to be no delays.

So far as the subordinate judiciary is concerned, a statement showing the cases in which arguments were heard and judgments pending from the previous month together with the dates on which arguments were heard and judgments delivered is to be submitted every month. This, to some extent, prevents unusual delays in the delivery of judgments. While recommending the framing of a rule fixing the period within which judgments should be delivered, we would like to observe that such a rule would be workable only if the presiding officers of courts are provided with necessary secretarial assistance.

The Munsifs and Magistrates are at present not provided with stenographers. It is very necessary that every Munsif and Magistrate be provided with a stenographer as is being done in several other States. The extra expense that will have to be incurred in providing a stenographer will be more than compensated by the increased efficiency and rapidity in disposing of matters and the consequent additional work that the judicial officers will be able to do by being relieved of their wearisome process of writing judgments in their own hand.

21. Criminal courts.-

There is no separation of the judiciary from the executive in this State. The magistracy is under the direct control of the executive. The members of the magistracy are drawn from two services-the West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) and the West Bengal Junior Civil Service; officers drawn from the former service function as Deputy Collectors and Deputy Magistrates while those drawn from the latter service are known as Sub-Deputy Collectors and Sub-Deputy Magistrates. They combine in them both executive and judicial functions. At the head of the magistracy of the district is the Collector and the District Magistrate. Most of the witnesses who appeared before us in Calcutta favoured the immediate separation of the judiciary from the executive.

There is considerable delay in the disposal of criminal cases in this State. The Inspector General of Police who gave evidence before us stated that thousands of cases were pending in the mofussil courts because the officers in charge of those courts were pre-occupied with other administrative work and as they were insufficient in number. He said that in the Barrackpore Sub-division over 5000 cases under the Motor Vehicles Act were pending in one court alone. He stated that the police were experiencing enormous difficulties in producing witnesses before courts because of the inordinate delays in the disposal of criminal cases for, the witnesses felt that they were being inconvenienced in being made to attend the courts a number of times in view of the fact thai they were not examined when they appeared for the first time in a particular case.

A District Magistrate who gave evidence before us, admitted the existence of delays and stated that in view of his other pre-occupations he was able to devote very little time to the supervision of the magisterial work of his subordinates. We are in entire agreement with the view expressed by the Inspector General of Police that the separation of the executive and judicial functions is essential to the expeditious disposal of criminal cases.

22. Panchayat courts.-

Notwithstanding the recommendations to the contrary of the West Bengal Judicial Reforms Committee, West Bengal Act (I of 1957) has made a provision for the establishment of Panchayat courts. Our general recommendations relating to this class of courts apply to this State also.

23. Concentration of courts.-

There appears to be a concentration of courts at a number of stations in the State. The following Table (Table No. 16) shows the distribution of judicial officers in the State in the year 1953:

Table No. 16

Strength of Judicial Officers in each State

Nos.

Stations with one Munsif only

22

Stations with two Munsifs only

10

Stations with three Munsifs only

6

Stations with one Munsif and one Subordinate Judge only

2

Stations with two Munsifs and one Subordinate Judge only

4

Stations with two Munsifs and two Subordinate Judges only

1

Stations with three Munsifs and two Subordinate Judges only

1

Stations with three Munsifs and four Subordinate Judges only

1

Stations with four Munsifs and four Subordinate Judges only

1

Stations with six Munsifs and twelve Subordinate Judges only

1

Stations with one Subordinate Judge only

4

In our opinion steps should be taken to decentralise courts as such a measure will also contribute to the expeditious disposal of cases. The usual complaint that cases have to be adjourned by reason of the lawyers' being busy in other courts will disappear. Justice will also be brought nearer to the litigant.

24. Miscellaneous.-

There were serious complaints that the ministerial staff in many of the subordinate courts was inadequate. It was said that there were similar difficulties on the original side. The position in some of the mofussil courts was said to be so serious that the clerks were said to employ outsiders to finish the work and pay them out of their own pocket-obviously out of the illegal gratifications received by them. This is a sad state of affairs and the only remedy for it would appear to be to assess the staff requirements of the courts afresh and to appoint the necessary hands. The argument of financial stringency cannot be validly advanced in this case as this State appears to be making a large profit out of the administration of justice.

There would also appear to be room for greater delegation of financial powers to the High Court. We have elsewhere referred to the miserable and over­crowded buildings in which the subordinate courts are accommodated. We may mention here that even the High Court is not far better situated. The staff are over-crowded and if the strength of the court is further increased or more court rooms become necessary by increasing the powers of single judges the problem will become acute and nearly impossible of solution.



Reform of Judicial Administration Back




Client Area | Advocate Area | Blogs | About Us | User Agreement | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Media Coverage | Contact Us | Site Map
powered and driven by neosys