The action plan to reduce the number of pending court cases, especially the ones which are older than a half decade, is on, at full swing in India.
For one, is the establishment of fast track courts. Then is, allotting a day in the week especially to take care of older pending cases. Also, is the system to set up a case flow management system. Such strictures have come from the law ministry which has sent across a brief to the chief justices of high courts detailing such procedures.
In addition, some methodologies of other countries are being looked into to lessen this backlog. Of these, some processes are to get in pre-trial proceedings which are done before the actual trial begins and another is to carefully look into courts’ performances and track records.
Going by these, a discussion is organised between the judge, counsel for the accused and the public prosecutor in chambers. Via this, certain unimportant issues are done away with. Then, court management can be bettered upon by bringing in moves which are accepted the world over – like court planning and policies are implemented properly and also by scrutinising court resources.
The centre has also provided another idea of giving an essential prior notice in civil cases which would speed up trial times. By this, a litigant must essentially give a 60-day notice to the other party. This will, certainly enough, cut short the unimportant paperwork involved.
Given as a good example is the case study of the Allahabad high court. By this, Lok Adalats are set up during Saturdays and Sundays, and as per records, 3.22 lakh cases were sorted out in the March to June quarter of the year 2014.
As per data, it is no secret that there is a backlog of over and above three crore cases in Indian courts. A few months ago it was also brought into the limelight that there are 26,851,766 cases pending in subordinate courts.
A primetime reason for this is that a very large number of vacancies for judges’ positions exist. In August last year, there were 384 judges less than the essential number in High Courts. This is in a total of 11,017 positions. A few months before this, as per the Supreme Court, of the 19,518 positions in subordinate courts, 4,403 were vacant.
Another step, argue some lawyers is to venture into the arena of plea bargaining. This will also, to some extent at least, reduce the time to settle a case.
What could be the main reason for this very lengthy backlog of cases is that in India, there is said to be one judge for every one lakh people of the country – this is considered one of the worst proportions in the entire world. This needs a very thorough looking into.
Finally, a large number of lawyers are touting 24/7 courts as a very valid method for enhancing the speed of settling court cases. This, more than anything else will really hasten up things at this end.