JUDICIAL FUNCTIONING – DELAYS IN COURTS
Everybody is aware of the enormous delay that comes about in the decision of criminal as well as civil cases filed in the various courts of India, right from Supreme Court to the District Courts. A very important and welcome initiative has now been taken by Mr. F.S. Nariman, Member of Parliament, in introducing the Judicial Statistics Bill alongwith the Constitution (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Judicial Statistics Bill states that economic reforms cannot succeed unless accompanied by legal and judicial reforms. The attempt to reform law hitherto focussed merely on research work, because of lack of statistical data. Now that new means of collecting empirical data in the legal files are available will be evidence of Information Technology. The availability of empirical data will help legal scholars to better assess performance of our judicial institutions. It will also help legal researchers and law reform agencies like the Law Commission to diagnose accurately the fault lines in the legal and judicial sector which inevitably lead to greater transparency.
The Judicial Statistics Bill aims at creation of a National Authority for judicial statistics, State Authority for judicial statistics and District Authority for judicial statistics. National Authority will consist of Chief Justice of India, a retired Judge of Supreme Court, Presiding Officers of Tribunals established under various Acts of Parliament and the Registrar General of Supreme Court, besides other members possessing requisite experience and qualifications. The State Authority for judicial statistics is proposed to consist of Chief Justice of the High Court, a serving or retired Judge of the High Court, Presiding Officer of any Tribunal established in the State, Registrar of the High Court and any other member possessing the requisite experience and qualifications. Likewise, the District Authority for judicial statistics is proposed to consist of District Judge and any other members possessing the requisite experience and qualifications.
Each of these Authorities, the National Authority, State Authority and District Authority, shall collect statistics about the cases, appeals, petitions and other matters filed in the respective Courts and other Tribunals. The information collected by them will include the legal nature of the dispute, outcome of the dispute, number of hours taken in disposal of the cases, number of adjournments granted and the interval between filing of cases and their final disposal.
Such statistical data will obviously be invaluable for determining action that needs to be taken for effecting improvements to ensure expeditious hearing of cases, appeals, petitions and other matters referred to the Courts. Each one of these three Authorities will prepare Annual Report based on the statistics of the cases, Appeals, Petitions and other matters referred to the Courts. It shall also comment on the trends revealed by the statistics.
Mr. F.S. Nariman, Member of Parliament has introduced another Bill in the Parliament entitled “THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE (AMENDMENT) BILL”. In the Bill it has been provided that where a Member of Parliament against whom charges have been framed by a competent Court under Section 240 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for committing any offence, punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or more or with death sentence under the Indian Penal Code or any other law, shall be disqualified as long as he is not discharged or acquitted by the Court of competent jurisdiction. Recent trends have shown that a number of persons with criminal antecedents are entering State Legislatures or Parliament. In many cases serious charges are levelled against such persons and due to inevitable delays in the judicial process in combination with influence of money and muscle-power, such persons are able to prolong the trial of criminal cases, thereby defeating the ends of justice. To prevent the person charged in a Court of Law (after investigation) of heinous criminal offences from exploiting the inevitable delays in judicial process it has been proposed in the Bill to make the framing of charges by a competent Court a ground for disqualification. The Law Commission of India has also recommended that the Representation of People Act, 1951, should be amended to the same effect. This is the view taken by the Election Commission as well. It is generally admitted that the entry of criminalisation in politics is a matter of great concern and recommendations have been made that the Representation of People Act should be amended to provide that any person charged with offence punishable with imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or more should be disqualified from being elected to Parliament or Legislature of State. The enactment of proposed legislation will greatly help to de-criminalise policies and will go a long way towards cleansing and purifying the public life.
One of the guests turned to the man by his side and started criticising the woman at the piano.
“What a hoarse voice. Do you know who she is ?”
“Yes, the neighbour replied. “She is my wife.”
“Oh, I beg your pardon. Of course, it is not her voice to blame. It’s the song she has to sing. I wonder who wrote that terrible song”.
“I did”, was the answer.
The lady of the house suspected that one of her two sons was paying attention to the maid. Anxious to find out which one, she said to the girl, “Gertie, suppose you could have a date with one of my sons, which would you prefer?”
“Well”, replied Gertie, “It’s hard to say, Ma’am, for I’ve had some grand times with both of them. But for real rollicking spree, give me the master”.
An absent-minded professor took a room at a boarding house. A few days later he knocked on his landlady’s door in a state of agitation. “I cannot stay here unless you send a full length mirror to my room immediately”.
“But why ? That half-length mirror is brand new”, replied the landlady.
“It simply won’t do. I keep going out without my pants on”.