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Report No. 14

11. Administration of justice a duty of the State.-

It has already been pointed out that the administration of justice is but a part of the functions of the State in maintaining law and order and the peace of the community and it is manifestly unfair that a section of the public, the civil litigants, alone should be made to pay for the upkeep of the establishment intended for that purpose. The cost of administration of justice should like the cost of other services fall on the tax paying public as a whole.

However, even if the view were taken that the cost of the administration of civil justice should fall on the civil litigant it is obviously unjust that he should be made to pay not only such cost but also the cost of the administration of justice as a whole including justice administered in the criminal Courts. Such a view is obviously unsustainable. That, however, as we shall point out later appears to be the view accepted in most of the States. Some States like Uttar Pradesh seem to go even further and add to the general revenues from the proceeds of the administration of justice.

12. Surplus realized by the States from the administration of justice (The position in U.P.).-

The Uttar Pradesh Judicial Reforms Committee which examined the question in so far as it related to the State of Uttar Pradesh found that the State was left with a surplus even after debiting against the proceeds from court-fees the cost of the administration of criminal justice. The table prepared by the Committee showing the revenue and expenditure under the head administration of justice is set out below:

Statement Showing Revenue From and Expenditure on Administration of Justice during 1938-49 In The State of Uttar Pradesh






















1,29,74, 340



























N.B.- The figures under the head "Revenue" do not include receipts from magisterial fines.

In the figures that are embodied in the above statement, the receipts from magisterial fines have not been included under the head of revenue. If these were included the surplus would be larger. In other States also the receipts from the administration of civil justice exceed the expenditure on it.

13. Allocation of expenditure to administration of justice.-

The task of allocating expenditure under the head of Administration of Justice between the cost of the Civil and Criminal administration of justice is not easy, but we are of the view that a fairly accurate allocation can be achieved .

14. views of the Rankin Committee.-

The Rankin Committee made an attempt in this direction. They stated:1

"We appreciate the difficulty in analysing income and expenditure, so as to attribute an exact figure to (a) civil justice, (b) criminal justice, especially where the existence of revenue courts introduces a complication. Still we would insist that no useful purpose is served by publishing meaningless or erroneous figures. This question should be examined by competent financial authority. If possible, certain principles should be laid down for the allocation of disputable items as between civil and criminal justice."

1. Report, p. 432, para. 10.

15. Our analysis.-

Whatever difficulties might have existed when the Civil Justice Committee dealt with the matter, we are of the view that it is practicable to separate the charges of civil and criminal administration of justice on a proper basis. We have attempted to analyse the budget statements of several States with a view to isolate the revenue derived from and expenditure incurred in the administration of civil justice. The task has not been easy; and the allocation of the several sub-items had to be made on certain assumptions. Notwithstanding these difficulties, however, we consider that we have been able to arrive at a fairly reliable estimate of the revenue from and the expenditure on the administration of civil justice.

The result of our analysis leads us to the conclusion that the revenue derived by the States from civil justice leaves a large surplus after meeting the expenditure on the administration of civil justice.Except at the level of the Sessions Judges and the High Court, the civil and criminal courts are generally distinct. Revenue courts have largely disappeared; where they exist, they are manned by executive officers.

Every court maintains registers recording items of revenue; the expenditure can likewise be clearly differentiated. At the level of the Sessions and High Courts, the matter may prove somewhat difficult but the difficulties are certainly no insuperable. Even if complete accuracy cannot be reached, a reclassification such as we have made would furnish valuable data for an appraisal of the results of the working of the different departments of the State.

16. States deriving a surplus.-

An analysis of the budget figures under the head of "administration of justice" in several States reveals that as a rule receipts derived from court-fees and other items of revenue from the civil courts, substantially exceed the expenditure incurred on civil justice and leaves a sizable surplus. For the purpose of illustration, we set out below the manner in which these figures taken from the budget have been analysed in reference to the State of Bombay.

State of Bombay for 1953-54

Total Receipts

Total charges.




Stamps judicial


9. Stamps



Administration of justice

27.Administration of justice





*. Includes the remuneration paid to the Law officers.

17. Misleading figures.-

A perusal of the above figures gives the impression at first sight that the administration of justice has to depend upon the general revenues for meeting the excess of expenditure over revenue. That is not the true position. The head of charges includes several items which cannot justifiably find a place under it. We shall deal with such items seriatim.

1. Under the head of account "XXVII-Administration of Justice" is one item-"remuneration paid to Law Officers-Rs. 10,80,067."

18. Inclusion of remuneration of Law Officers under this head.-

Examining the budget figures we find that under this item is included the remuneration paid to such officers as the Advocate General, Government Solicitor, Government Pleader (High Court), Public Prosecutor (Greater Bombay), Government Pleader (City Civil Court, Bombay) and Government Pleaders (Moffusil). It also includes the charges for the establishments of these officers. In addition to the remuneration of Law Officers employed to assist in the administration of criminal justice we find that the charges of Law Officers engaged by the State for giving it advice or in the conduct or defence of civil actions by or against the State are also debited against the administration of justice. It is clear that in instituting or defending suits the State is in the position of an ordinary litigant.

Though State funds might be used to meet such expenses, they are not expenses relating to or arising out of the maintenance of the system of judicial administration. The State being in no better position than an ordinary suitor in a court of law, the expenses incurred in launching and prosecuting a litigation must necessarily fall on the general revenues. The view that such expenses may be regarded as part of the cost of the system of administration of justice in a State appears to us to be untenable. If the view were correct one could well go further and urge that if the State fails in a suit and is directed to pay costs to the opposite party, such costs should be shown as a part of the cost of judicial administration.

19. Existence of a surplus.-

We are therefore of the view that sums paid towards remuneration of Law Officers employed to assist the State in prosecuting or defending civil claims against it or advise the State in connection with them cannot be treated as part of the charges of judicial administration. If these items are omitted from the expenditure side the position will be as follows:

Total receipts

Total charges

Rs. 1,99,65,385

Rs. 1,98,72,274

Surplus-Rs. 98,111.

The totals represent the realisations from both civil and criminal courts and the expenditure for the maintenance of both civil and criminal courts.

The remuneration paid to Public Prosecutors and other prosecuting agencies is so paid in discharge of the general responsibility of the State in regard to the administration of criminal justice. As the maintenance of law and order is one of the fundamental functions of the State, it follows that imprisonment of the criminal is a duty owed by the State to the public. The maintenance of the machinery for the administration of criminal justice is the inevitable sequel to the discharge of this general responsibility laid on the State.

A private person moving the criminal courts or setting in motion the criminal judicial machinery incurs virtually no expense by way of court-fees. If the case is a cognizable one, the police undertake the investigation of the case and the prosecution of the offender. If it is a non-cognizable case, the party can himself move the court paying a small fee. The citizen is thus not expected to pay any substantial fee such as the civil litigant pays.

As the prosecution of the offender is rightly considered to be a matter of public interest the State has to provide the necessary prosecuting and judicial machinery for the purpose. The remuneration paid to the prosecuting agency must therefore necessarily form part of the cost of discharging this general responsibility by the State. It is clearly unjust that this cost or any part of it should fall on the civil litigant.

20. Allocation between civil and criminal justice.-

We shall now endeavour to allocate both receipts and charges to the respective heads of civil and criminal administration of justice in so far as it is possible to do so on the basis of the detailed statements given in the budget.

The first item of receipt is the realisation by way of court-fees. Under the head of account "IXB" Stamps judicial, the following figures are given:

XXI-Administration of Justice Accounts
Court-fees realised in stamps other than probate duty 1,19,02,451
Probate duty 10,44,825
Fines and Penalties 16476
Miscellaneous 8277
Total 1,29,72,029
Less refund 7,20,739
Net Total 1,22,51,290

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