Report No. 127
3.18. To say that increase in the workload must result in corresponding increase in the staff of the court is to state the obvious. But this obvious is wholly neglected. The court staff require a special set of scales to be able to function because court administration involves duties which are unique in character. But the courts generally do not follow any uniformity or scientific pattern of staff recruitment.
While, as pointed out earlier, norms or guidelines have been prescribed by some States for setting up additional or new courts when the workload rises beyond the prescribed maximum, yet when the additional court is not sanctioned simultaneously, there is disinclination to sanction the increased staff and the courts have no power even to create the post of a peon on the specious plea that it entails financial liability which cannot be incurred without the sanction of the Finance Ministry of the State Government.
To illustrate, in Rajasthan, a clerk who was required to handle 350 files is now required to handle 2,000 to 3,000 files.1 No specific qualifications are prescribed disclosing the special skill needed to work in court administration. There is no realistic estimate of what staff requirement for each section ought to be As for example, in Supreme Court, there has been considerable increase in junior clerical staff and peons but there is no corresponding increase in other staff. Such increases have to be looked on as part of overall policy.2
1. See Appendix IV, Q. 6(i).
2. R. Dhavan The Supreme Court Under Strain: The Challenge of Arrears, p. 81.
3.19. To deal with this aspect more effectively, the Law Commission solicited information on the staffing pattern at each level of the judiciary. Most of the States have submitted the figures of total number of staff without providing the level-wise information. Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have provided the prescribed staffing patterns and in these two States, the staffing patterns are almost similar but the strength of the staff is higher than what the Finance Commission allows while sanctioning the hinds for additional courts and their staff.
As for example, in the district courts under the High Courts of the aforementioned two States, staff consists of 35 members apart from process servers and attendants.1 On the other hand, the Finance Commission allows a staff strength of only nine members per district court.2 The difference is too glaring to be missed. The only explanation one can offer is that probably the district court workload is far above the prescribed maximum and, therefore, the additional staff is sanctioned.
1. Information received in response to the Law Commission's Questionnaire.
2. Report of the Eighth Finance Commission, 1984, 81.
3.20. There has to be a prescribed minimum staff requirement at each level of the judiciary and thereafter the needs for staff expansion can be determined scientifically. At present the courts are not following any fixed criteria. Most of the States have replied that the additional staff is employed if the workload is more than the prescribed maxima but no scientific formula is being followed to determine the kind of staff to be recruited and the additional staff to be sanctioned.1 Such ad hoc mechanisms cannot serve the ends of the courts because there is no fixed criteria for deciding the type of staff which is to be recruited.
1. See Appendix IV, Q. 6(i).
3.21. A detailed study has been made with regard to the staffing patterns in the Supreme Court of India and Allahabad High Court. The study reveals that over years, there has been a substantial increase in the strength of Class IV employees. The situation in other High Courts may not be different. Ordinarily in most of the High Courts, after the entry at the grass-root level, the staff vertically moves upward by promotion. An employee who joined as an Assistant and, after acquiring qualification of stenography, reached the highest position of the Registrar in the Supreme Court. Some years back, a senior District Judge from the State Judicial Service was recruited as Registrar of the Supreme Court of India. That practice was discontinued but very recently, post of Registrar-General has been created and a judicial officer from the State Judicial Service of the rank of a District Judge has been recruited for the post.
The method of vertical promotion rising to the highest rank was justified on the assumption that during this upward journey, these members of the staff collect lot of experience and become mature to handle the post at the highest level. However, because of the upward movement, they also acquire rigidity, narrowness of outlook and become status quoist. While the institution grows, the sheer size of the institution demands efficiency, imagination and initiative. This can hardly be expected from the staff moving from the lowest to the highest, being totally devoid of any administrative and managerial skills outside the court structure itself.1
1. R. Dhavan Litigation Explosion in India, p. 112.
3.22. It is notorious that there is no arrangement for any in-service training to be imparted to the staff recruited on general qualifications. In order to raise the efficiency ratio, the staff manning the courts have to be selected with some special qualifications and trained in a systematic manner. This approach necessitates systematic recruitment with higher prescribed qualifications, in-service training and greater degree of specialism. This specialism has to be linked to the new technology that might be introduced as well as to the functional demands. Therefore, training programme workshop/conferences should be developed for court executives to aid in the development of a comprehensive body of court management theory and of the standards, qualifications and functions of court executives.
3.23. It may be of some use to mention that the post of Registrar, the highest ministerial officer in the Judicial Service of the State is manned by a senior District Judge. The Registrar is also assigned some non-contested judicial functions. This role is admirably carried out by them.
3.24. The complex environmental network, internal and external, places a strain upon the administrative machinery of the courts. Atypical demands for management competence are created that, exposure to ordinary administrative work rarely provides. Courts are as complex as any organisation in contemporary society. An average degree of management success is possible only if competent managerial skills are brought to bear on managerial problems.1
1. Quoted by G. Gallas Judicial Leadership Excellence: A Research Prospectus, 12 The Justice System Journal, 39, 43 (1987).