Law Ministry lays down plan for clearing pendency in courts

Law Ministry lays down plan for clearing pendency in courts

It is hoped that if the plan is followed, there will be a 60 per cent reduction in pendency by 2030.

In an effort to reduce the number of pending cases in the courts, the Ministry of Law and Justice has proposed some measures, such as the implementation of a three-adjournment rule in all cases.

According to the plan, cases that are 30 years old should be completed by 2025, while cases that are 20-30 years old should be completed by 2028. Similarly, cases that are 10-20 years old should be completed by 2033 and cases that are five years old should be completed by 2047.

It is hoped that if the plan is followed, there will be a 60 per cent reduction in pendency by 2030. As a result, a 90 per cent reduction in pending cases may be planned by 2047.

The model of high courts in Gujarat and Punjab, where morning and evening courts are held for phased reduction of arrears where case pendency is high, has also been proposed.

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It has also been suggested that all state governments, in coordination with their respective high courts, consider appointing court managers as a separate cadre entrusted with both court management and non-judicial administrative work. This would allow judicial officers to focus solely on case adjudication, while court-related work that does not require the presence of a judge could be delegated to such specialised managers.

Reiterating Chief Justice of India NV Ramana's views, the ministry has also suggested that all state governments consider developing an action plan for a special arrears clearance drive to reduce the number of court Central Secretariat Service (CSS) in which the government is a party, and that no unnecessary adjournments in respect of government litigation in courts be sought, barring exceptional and unforeseen circumstances.

The plan added that virtual hearings be permitted in order to reduce unnecessary adjournments.

"To monitor the average time taken for disposal of civil and criminal cases, the Supreme Court and respective high courts may consider publishing the average time taken for disposal of civil and criminal cases on their respective official websites," an official from the ministry told India Today .

The ministry has also proposed mandating case management hearings for all cases, implementing case flow management for all courts using Information and Communication Technology (ICT), automated random case allocation using ICT, mandatory e-filing in all types of cases, and the use of e-summons to reduce case pendency.

The Supreme Court currently has 7,0632 pending cases, while the 25 high courts have 58.8 lakh and the district courts have 4.10 crore.

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