Problems Faced:

  1. Appointments:
    1. The country has a judicial strength of a mere 18,000, as against the requirement of about 50,000 judges.
    2. At present, 434 vacancies of High Court judges remained unfilled.
    3. The subordinate judiciary has 4580 vacancies across the country.
  2. Administrative Inefficiency:
    1. Inadequacy of staff attached to High Courts.
    2. There are 60,260 cases pending before the Supreme Court.
    3. All High Courts in India, as a whole, have an incredible 38.68 lakhs of cases awaiting disposal.
    4. The backlog of all courts including the lower courts is estimated to be around 3 crores.
  3. Financial Autonomy:
    1. Planning and budgetary exercises being undertaken without consulting the judiciary.
  4. Transparency: Despite the decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC), Judiciary has kept itself out of preview of RTI.
  5. Technology: The project of electronic conversion of all files, judgments etc. is still pending and happening at a very slow pace.

 

Steps Taken:

  1. The enactment of Commercial Courts Act, 2015 for dedicated commercial courts at district and High Court level, and also laying down the time limits for disposal of commercial disputes/appeals.
  2. Amendments to Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 to ensure quick and cost effective settlement of commercial disputes to arbitration.
  3. To improve the quality of Legal Education in India, setting up of Lawyers ‘Academy in Kochi is a step in right direction.

 

Reforms needed:

  • Justice is an integral part of our Constitution. To achieve this objective, we need to continuously improve our legal and judicial framework so that timely and cost effective justice is made available at the door steps to our people.
  • E-Courts
  • Debt Tribunals
  • Insolvency courts
  • Commerical courts
  • Setting up of Fast Track Courts, Additional Courts and Family Courts.
  • Increasing the ICT capabilities of the courts.
  • Setting up of Alternative dispute resolution centres such as Lok Adalats should be encouraged.
  • Uniform methodology to collect judicial data and streamlining of court processes.
  • To boost the confidence of the people in judiciary, judiciary should reveal information like the number of pending or reserved judgments by bringing itself under ambit of RTI.
  • Simplification of Laws: Government should work to remove old and dysfunctional elements in legislation by amending Indian penal code, civil procedures code and Indian evidence Act.
  • Rules should be changed to provide a uniform retirement age for judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  • To prevent corruption, cool off period should be introduced for judges before taking up any new government assignment.

As suggested by the Law Commission, in its 245th report, a ‘rate of disposal’ method should be adopted in which the number of judges required at each level to dispose of a particular number of cases could be computed based on analysis.