Report No. 230
2.1 Hon'ble Shri Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, a Supreme Court Judge, in his article titled "Judicial Reforms" published in Halsbury's Law Monthly of November 2008 has suggested a few norms, which the 35judges and lawyers must agree to follow very rigorously, in order to liquidate the huge backlog. The suggestions are quoted below:
'(1)There must be full utilization of the court working hours. The judges must be punctual and lawyers must not be asking for adjournments, unless it is absolutely necessary. Grant of adjournment must be guided strictly by the provisions of Order 17 of the Civil Procedure Code.
(2)Many cases are filed on similar points and one judgment can decide a large number of cases. Such cases should be clubbed with the help of technology and used to dispose other such cases on a priority basis; this will substantially reduce the arrears. Similarly, old cases, many of which have become infructuous, can be separated and listed for hearing and their disposal normally will not take much time. Same is true for many interlocutory applications filed even after the main cases are disposed of. Such cases can be traced with the help of technology and disposed of very quickly.
(3)Judges must deliver judgments within a reasonable time and in that matter, the guidelines given by the apex court in the case of Anil Rai v. State of Bihar, (2001) 7 SCC 318 must be scrupulously observed, both in civil and criminal cases.
(4)Considering the staggering arrears, vacations in the higher judiciary must be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days and the court working hours should be extended by at least half-anhour.
(5)Lawyers must curtail prolix and repetitive arguments and should supplement it by written notes. The length of the oral argument in any case should not exceed one hour and thirty minutes, unless the case involves complicated questions of law or interpretation of Constitution.
(6)Judgments must be clear and decisive and free from ambiguity, and should not generate further litigation. We must remember Lord Macaulay's statement made about 150 years ago.
"Our principle is simply this - Uniformity when you can have it, Diversity when you must have it, In all cases, Certainty"
(7)Lawyers must not resort to strike under any circumstances and must follow the decision of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Harish Uppal (Ex-Capt.) v. Union of India reported in (2003) 2 SCC 45.
Things I know are easier written, than done and for all these reforms, what is required is a lot of discipline and introspection and a realization that without these reforms, the present system is under threat. Both, judges and lawyers, have to change their mindsets. Unless our mental barriers to reforms are mellowed, all doses of external remedies are bound to fail. We must remember what Gandhiji said: "If you want to change anything, you be the change".'
2.2 We adopt the above suggestions and recommend accordingly.