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Report No. 14

Section C

(i) Jurisdiction of Civil Courts

69. Do you consider the extension of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the subordinate civil courts in your State desirable? If so, to what extent? Would you extend the jurisdiction of the munsif's or civil or subordinate judge's courts in-

(a) regular suits, and

(b) small cause suits?

70. Would you recommend the extension of the jurisdiction of the small cause courts and if so, to what extent and in what classes of cases? Are you in favour of restricting the scope of section 19 of the Presidency Small Cause Courts Act and Schedule II of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act? If so, which of the items now included in those provisions would you omit?

71. Would you extend the summary procedure contemplated by section 128(2) (f) and Order XXXVII of the Code of Civil Procedure to the subordinate courts? If so to what extent? What safeguards would you advocate to obviate any untoward consequences of the extension of such procedure to these courts?

72. Would you extend to the civil or subordinate Judges in your State the jurisdiction to try land acquisition references and proceedings in probate, succession certificate and guardianship matters? If so, should such jurisdiction be conferred on all such Judges or only on, selected Judges?

73. What amendments would you suggest to section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure so as to safeguard the rights of the Citizen and at the same time give the State the necessary opportunity to consider its legal position?

(ii) Pleadings

74. Do the pleadings filed in the courts in your State conform generally to the rules prescribed in Orders VI, VII, and VIII of the Code of Civil Procedure? Are the forms of pleadings given in the Code of Civil Procedure generally adhered to? Do you consider these forms adequate and sufficiently simple? Have you any suggestions to make in regard to pleadings generally from the point of view of their simplification and the dispensing with them altogether in certain types of cases? Do you take the view that the pleadings generally need to be more precise and elaborate?

75. Would you be in favour of requiring the advocate drawing the plaint to certify that it is in accordance with the Code?

76. Would you consider it desirable in the interests of a speedy trial that the plaint should be accompanied by-

(a) a list of documents relied on,

(b) copies of the documents relied on,

(c) list of the witnesses whom the plaintiff proposes to call at the trial,

(d) detailed addresses of the defendants,

(e) names and addresses of proposed guardians ad item in the case of minor defendants,

(f) the name and address of the plaintiff's lawyer, and

(g) the payment of process fees?

(iii) Service of Process

77. Is the dilatory service of process one of the principal causes of delays in litigation in your State? If so, have you any suggestions to offer to remedy these delays?

78. Would you recommend a more extensive use of the post office for service of various kinds of processes? Should the refusal of a packet of summons be presumed to be good service? Are you in favour of leaving a wider discretion to the courts for ordering service of process in the manner they think most suitable in individual cases? Would you give the court the power to order substituted service if service is not affected within a certain number of days?

79. Are there complaints of corruption in the process-serving staff in your State? Is the service of process delayed on account of fraud or negligence on the part of the process servers? If so, what measures would you devise for remedying this evil and for an effective check and supervision over the work of the process-servers so as to speed up the service of processes?

80. Do you consider the conditions of service (including that of pay, etc.) and method of recruitment of the process-servers partly responsible for corruption amongst their ranks? If so, what reforms would you advocate?

81. Would you recommend that the summons should-

(a) be accompanied by copies of the documents relied on by the plaintiff;

(b) state, as an alternative to (a), that the copies Of the documents filed by the plaintiff are available for defendant's inspection in court forthwith;

(c) require the defendant to file his written statement by a date before the date fixed for hearing;

(d) require the defendant to file with his written statement a list of the documents relied on by him, copies of sucl documents and a list of the witnesses proposed to be called by him;

(e) state that no extension of time would be granted for filing the written statement excepting for sufficient reasons; and

(f) require copies of the written statement and the documents annexed to it to be furnished direct to the plaintiff's lawyer at address given by the plaintiff?

(iv) Attendance of Witnesses

82. What are your views in regard to the framing of a rule preventing parties from calling witnesses other than those mentioned in the lists given by them excepting in exceptional circumstances?

83. Are the parties reasonably diligent in applying for the issue of witness summonses? What remedies would you suggest to obviate delays consequent on the frequent non-service of witness summonses and the non-attendance of witnesses?

84. Should it be made a general practice to leave the parties to procure attendance of their witnesses, summonses being issued by the Court only in special cases?

(v) Uncontested Matters

85. Do you agree with the view that matters in which process has been duly served and no written statement has been filed-

(a) should be set down for hearing from time to time in a separate ex-parte list,

(b) judgment may be signed forthwith on the verified statement in the plaint and without evidence,

(c) if evidence considered desirable, evidence may be taken and decree passed forthwith,

(d) if evidence is desired and not available, a short date may be fixed for production of evidence and matter may be disposed of ex-parte on that date,

(e) may be dealt with by the Registrar or other Special Officer in the manner above-mentioned.

(vi) Contested Matters

86. Are you in favour of a conciliation proceeding which would take place at the date fixed for hearing and after pleadings are closed at which the Judge may try to induce parties to come to a settlement? If so, should the conciliation proceeding take place before the trial judge or some other judge? Further, should the conciliation proceeding precede or follow-

(a) discovery and inspection,

(b) pre-trial procedure mentioned in the next question?

87. Are you in favour of a thorough going pre-trial conference or pre-trial hearing which would take place at the date fixed for hearing and at which the Judge would:-

(a) examine the parties summarily and hear the lawyers,

(b) determine the issues arising in the case,

(c) consider what documents need to be produced in court and in what manner,

(d) consider what facts are necessary to be proved and the manner of their proof by affidavit, oral or documentary evidence or by means of interrogatories or admissions,

(e) consider whether any witnesses other than those mentioned in the lists are necessary to be called or examined on commission,

(f) fix the date of disposal of the case?

Would you have the pre-trial conference or hearing before discovery or after discovery?

88. Are the provisions relating to examination of parties and discovery, production and inspection of documents in Orders X, XI, XII, and XIII of the Code of Civil Procedure generally followed in your State? If not, can you suggest any methods by which the use of these pro visions can be made more general? Do these provisions need simplification? If so in what manner? Would you recommend any amendment in Order XII, rule 2 with a view to giving more powers to the courts to deal with unjustified denial of documents?

(vii) Hearing

89. Is the hearing of a suit or proceeding once begun generally continued from day to day in your State? If not, state the causes which contribute to interrupted hearings? What measures can you suggest-

(a) for ensuring the start of the hearing on the day fixed for it, and

(b) for the continuance of the hearing from day to day till it is finished as contemplated by Order XVII, rule 1?

90. Is it your experience that in a large number of cases interrupted hearings and adjournments result by reason of applications made by the lawyers engaged in the case? If so, would you be in favour of a provision that as a rule, and except in special circumstances adjournments shall not be granted on the ground of the convenience of lawyers?

91. Is it your experience that the provisions of the Evidence Act in regard to the relevancy of evidence are insufficiently observed in the course of recording the evidence? Have you any measures to suggest for the exercise of greater control by the presiding judge over the evidence led both in regard to its relevant nature and its volume?

92. Would you be in favour of leaving the examination of witnesses of both sides to the Judge himself, liberty being given to the lawyers of the parties to suggest questions to the Judge? Would not a system of questioning in this manner by the Judge be a better method of eliciting the truth?

93. Would you give the presiding Judge a power to regulate evidence and stop it when he is of the opinion that sufficient evidence on a point has been put before the Court?

94. Would you be in favour of a larger use of affidavit evidence with liberty to ask for the deponent to be called for examination with the leave of the court? Does your experience in writ matters support the view that larger use of affidavit evidence in other matters is practicable? If so, would you suggest the matters in which such affidavit evidence could be used with advantage?

95. Do you think that the recording of evidence of witnesses by the Judge in his own hand causes delay? If so, have you any measures to suggest to obviate this delay?

96. Do you consider that generally argument addressed by lawyers to courts are unduly prolix and that courts exercise little control over the length of these arguments? Can you suggest any method of cutting down or controlling the length of these arguments? Would you consider it advisable to give the Judge special powers in this connection?

97. Do you consider that the issue of commissions has been a frequent cause of delay in the disposal of cases? If so, have you any suggestions to make in order to obviate such delay?

98. Would you give power to the commissioner to exclude irrelevant and inadmissible evidence?

99. Have you any suggestions to make in regard to the selection of Commissioners by the Court?

(viii) Judgments

100. Do you consider that in many cases judgments are unnecessarily prolix by reason of their containing a summary of the pleadings, a reproduction of the evidence of witnesses and a .discussion of the authorities cited? Would you be in favour of having more concise judgments? Would yciu consider it advisable to enact suitable provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure for this purpose?

101. Is the delivery of judgments considerably delayed in your State? If so, Could you suggest measures for ensuring the quick delivery of judgments? Would you be in favour of providing that judgments should, as a rule, be delivered within a week of the close of the hearing and not later than a month?

102. Are you in favour of only the findings and the operative part of the judgment being read out in open court, the judgment itself being made immediately available to the parties?

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