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Report No. 127

2.11. Institutionally, the courts may not occupy a position of dominance but when everything else fails, the judiciary is approached as a last resort to mete out fairness. The public confidence in the courts is evident from the fact that the courts have been asked to pronounce on questions of great public importance, be it the conduct of the examinations of a premier university in one of the highest medical degrees or the misuse of power by men in authority and power,1 pollution of environment by big industrial houses,2 attempt by, political party, who apprehending that success may elude them at the hustings, sought to defeat the election process, despite Article 329B by raising frivolous and baseless objections in the writ petition,3 or the dispute between two split groups of the parent political party regarding the use of election symbol4 or the party office5.

This proves, it proof be needed, that the courts do inspire the faith that objectivity and impartiality alone can bring. Even when they are doubted, it is their grasp of problem that is questioned, not their fairness. This is one point which is accepted as final and the steam that injustice creates is often effectively absorbed by the courts of justice who thereby act as restraints and pressure outlets, which is imperative to maintain social order.

1. Shivaji Rao Nilangokar v. Dr. Mahesh Madhav Gosavi, (1987) 1 SCC 227.

2. M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (1987) 1 SCC 395.

3. A.K. Hussan Uzzman v. Union of India, (1982) 2 SCC 218; L.C. Sen v. A.K. Hassan Uzzmon, etc., (1985) 4 SCC 689.

4. Sadig Ali v. The Election Commission of India, AIR 1972 SC 187.

5. The dispute between the AIADMK leader Jayalalitha and Janaki Group, The Indian Express, May 11, 1988, p. 4.

2.12. Expression of society's moral outrage is essential in an ordered society that asks its members to rely on legal processes rather than self-help to vindicate their wrongs. To avoid anarchy, fairness has to be felt to be done and it is the courts which provide the systemic outlet. Obedience to law has been described as the strongest of all the forces making for any nation's peaceful continuity and progress.1 An institution which helps to maintain the balance of society and directs its ordered progress to the road of development, alas, is sadly neglected, ignoring the lessons of history that alternative to peaceful transformation of society by rule of law is violence. The courts' contribution in such transformation is immense.

1. S. Shebreet The Limits of Expeditious Justice, pp. 1, 15.

2.13. The administration of justice is not regarded as part of the developmental activity and, therefore, not promoted through the five years or annual plans. Justice is thus a non-plan expenditure. Very nominal amounts are being made available under the plan cover in Seventh Finance Commission and Eighth Finance Commission for construction of court buildings, providing amenities for existing structures, additional subordinate courts, including the cost of staffing them. A time has come to re-allocate expenditure on administration of justice as plan expenditure. Economic planning which ignores legal formulations occasionally meets its Waterloo.1 Law Commission has accordingly expressed its opinion that expenditure on administration of justice must be treated as plan expenditure.2

1. R.C. Cooper v. Union of India, AIR 1970 SC 564; Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225; I.C. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, (1967) 2 SCR 762; Madhav Rao Scindia v. Union of India, AIR 1971 SC 530.

2. LCI, 125th Report on The Supreme Court - A Fresh Look, para. 4.10.

2.14. The question which stares into our face and which ought to be answered is whether the courts as at present structured are equipped to deal with increased workload. As is evident from the pending dockets which are exploding at their seams, the justice system is not adequately geared to meet the new challenges and retain the confidence reposed in it.

2.15. Delay in disposal of cases threatens justice. The lapse of time blurs truth, weakens witnesses' memory and makes presentation of evidence, difficult. This leads to loss of public confidence in the judicial process which in itself is a threat to rule of law. The rising cost of litigation is attributable to delay which in turn causes the litigants to either abandon meritorious claims or compromise for a lesser unjust settlement out of court.1

1. S. Shetreet The Limits of Expeditious Justice.

2.16. There is another inherent danger in not disposing of cases within a reasonable time but which was sought to be ignored as an undesirable spill over. One who has suffered injustice and is unable to procure justice on account of long delay would sometimes resort to self-help by force as means of resolving disputes. This ugly feature of the dilatoriness of the system is now raising head as evident from chain murders taking place in some States. To illustrate, the houses of Ram Bharosey and Pyare Lal had fallen out and periodic fueling of the feud was furnished by the kidnapping of a wife, the stabbing of a brother and the like.

The next flare up was a murder by Rajender Prasad, son of Pyare Lal. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life. The accused, after having served sentence for some time, was released on Gandhi Jayanti day. On coming out, he stabbed Ram Bharosey and his friend Mansukh and the latter succumbed to his injuries. He was again tried.1 Numerous cases can be cited for this sort of chain reaction, more especially because when the wounds are fresh, justice is not done.

1. Rajendra Prasad v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (1979) 3 SCC 646.

2.17. When the position of the courts, as the duly authorised arbitrators of society, is diminished through undue delay, confidence in peace, social order and good Government is threatened. Congestion and delay not only affect public confidence in the court's ability to resolve disputes expeditiously but also adversely affect the quality of justice received in individual cases. If a Judge is acting under unreasonable time pressure, he may concentrate more on disposing of cases than on doing justice in each particular case. Apart from the above mentioned factors which are beyond the control of machinery of justice, there are court-related factors which contribute to delay and congestion in the courts.

The justice system is not adequately prepared to meet the new challenges posed by the case load crisis. Delay in filling in vacancies has been pointed out as one such major factor for mounting arrears,1 though, strictly speaking, it cannot be said to be a court-related factor since the delay in the appointment was invariably shown to be at the Executive level. Coupled with thin, inefficient case flow management, poor and unprofessional court management, inadequate facilities and insufficient financing have all severely impaired the ability of the courts to meet the challenge of rising crescendo of arrears.

1. LCI, 121st Report on A new Forum for judicial Appointments.

2.18. A limited number of available court rooms also interferes with the orderly running of cases. Court management is not tuned to organisation method improvement. The court officers lack training in management and there is absence of integrated approach to the administration of the system. The courts still are managed according to the antiquated notions and they have no modern means of communication. Subordinate courts as a rule have not been given even telephone connections. Failure to exercise effective case management control by the court is a major factor for delay.

2.19. There are three basic models for reducing court delay and expediting justice. First, making the use of existing court resources more efficient; second, reducing the demand for court services and resources; and third, expanding court resources to meet the increasing demand for court' services1 The present report seeks to make a convincing case for expanding court resources to meet the increasing demand for court services.

1. S. Shetreet The limits of Expeditious Justice, p. 36.

2.20. Greater efficiency in using court resources can be attained by effective and professional court management and effective case flow management and introducing modern technologies in court management. In the Indian context, with the increasing demand for court services, coupled with the expansion of the jurisdiction of the courts to fields not traditionally within their domain, it is not possible to reduce the demand for court services.

Even though Law Commission has suggested the formation of alternative specialised fora for resolution of disputes relating to tax, labour and educational matters to relieve the burden of the generalist courts, yet, keeping in view the increasing inflow of work, there must be proportional expansion of court services. Further, the specialist fora will also require a proper infra-structure to facilitate their smooth functioning. In the final analysis, the efficient use of court resources will always remain the major method of court improvement in the absence of adequate funds to expand court resources.

Resource Allocation for Infra-structural Services in Judicial Administration - A Continuum of the Report on Manpower Planning in Judiciary: A Blueprint Back

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