Report No. 78
3.5. Existing provisions and administrative measures to avoidance delay.-
Then, several of our recommendations were intended to draw attention to existing provisions and certain administrative aspects relevant to the avoidance of delay in courts. These were as follows:-
(a) In criminal cases, it is particularly necessary that delay be eliminated, since the decision depends upon oral rather than on documentary evidence, and with the passage of time, the memory of witnesses fades.1
(b) Every criminal court should keep a register showing the number of witnesses summoned for a date the number examined, the number sent back and reasons for sending them back without examination. The tendency of some criminal courts of sending back witnesses without examining them must be deprecated.2
(c) At least two police officials at every police station should be set apart for getting service of summonses effected upon witnesses for cases relating to that police station and for ensuring their presence on the date of hearing.3
(d) The police quite often deliberately refrain from producing all material witnesses on one date, the object being to fill up the lacunae in the prosecution evidence after the defence case becomes manifest by cross-examination. This practice is unfair and not warranted by the Criminal Procedure Code, and results in prolongation of the trial.4
[We shall deal with this aspect in detail later also in this Chapter.5]
(e) Officials at the police station who are concerned with investigation should concentrate on investigation. As far as possible, they should not be deputed for other purposes.6
[We shall deal with this aspect in detail later in this Chapter also.7]
(f) Desirability of separating the investigation agency of the police from that dealing with law and order may have to be considered. The question whether the investigating agency should be not susceptible to executive interference and, for that purpose, be independent of executive control, may also need consideration.8
[We shall deal with this aspect in detail later in this Chapter.9]
(g) The Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, section 130(1) provides for special procedure for certain traffic offences whereunder the accused can plead guilty to the charge by post and remit the specified fine. In the case of persons other than professional drivers, for some specified offences of a minor nature, the ticket issued by the policeman should also contain separately the amount of fine for various categories of traffic offences in respect of different types of vehicles, so that if the person committing the infraction of law is so inclined, he can plead guilty and also remit the amount of fine to the court concerned before the date of hearing.10
[While this recommendation may not directly concern under-trial prisoners, it is of great importance for reducing over-all congestion in criminal courts. It possesses, therefore, considerable relevance for under-trial prisoners, though indirectly.]
(h) Disposal of cases in which there is a large number of accused, gets delayed because one of the accused absents himself on the date of hearing. The trial court in such contingencies should consider the advisability of directing representation of the absent accused by counse1.11
(i) Having regard to the importance attached to the framing of the charge, the trial magistrates should not leave it to the prosecutor to frame a charge.12
(J) In recording statements of the accused under section 313, Cr. P.C. the magistrate should ensure that all incriminating pieces of evidence are put to the accused.13
(k) Complaints have been heard that there are not enough number of prosecutors, particularly in cases under the prevention of Food Adulteration Act and those investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Steps should be taken to ensure that there are as many prosecutors as there are criminal courts.14
(1) Where the same Judicial Officer exercises both civil and criminal powers normally he should not fix both the types of cases on the same day. If such a course cannot be avoided, he should set apart separate time for civil and criminal cases.15
(m) Cases in which there is possibility of death sentence should receive priority over all other cases.16
1. 77th Report, para. 12.1.
2. 77th Report, paras. 12.2 and 12.8.
3. 77th Report, para. 12.8.
4. 77th Report, para. 12,8A.
5. See infra.
6. 77th Report, para. 12.9.
7. See infra.
8. 77th Report, para. 12.9A.
9. See para. 3.12, infra.
10. 77th Report, paras. 12.8 to 12.12.
11 77th Report, para. 12.13.
12. 77th Report, para. 12.12A.
13. 77th Report, para. 12.12A.
14. 77th Report, para. 12.13.
15. 77th Report, para. 12.15.
16. 77th Report, para. 12.16.