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Kalam asks courts to ensure speedy justice
December 10, 2005 16:26 IST
Last Updated: December 10, 2005 16:32 IST
Holding that the "dynamism and innovativeness" of the judicial system is vital for the country's development, President A P J Abdul Kalam Saturday asked the courts to ensure speedy delivery of justice.
"The role of the judiciary places enormous responsibility on the shoulders of the courts and the nation's development is equally dependent on the dynamism and innovativeness of the judicial system," he said addressing a gathering on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said, "In any modern economy, there is an urgent need to implement nationally relevant and important projects in a time-bound manner".
While courts were the guardians to protect the projects from the onslaught of unscrupulous individuals or groups, they also had the responsibility to ensure "honest implementation is not impeded by unsustainable or motivated litigations," he said.
Kalam said he had received reports that certain cases were pending for more than three decades. The causes for the delay were inadequate number of courts and judicial officers, officers not equipped to tackle cases involving specialised knowledge, "dilatory tactics by litigants and their lawyers" and the role of administrative staff of the courts, he said.
The judicial system at the panchayat level without the influence of political parties might reduce the load in courts, he said.
"It may be possible we may find cases which are pending for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 30 years and so on. On further examination of the cases, we may find that the parties involved in very old cases are either not there or not interested in pursuing the case any more," Kalam sald.
If this process was systematically followed up, at least 20 to 30 per cent of the pending cases could be closed in one go, he said. "I understand that this procedure had been adopted in the Delhi High Court and resulted in closing of many cases," he said.
He also suggested grouping of cases similar from the legal point of view so that these could be placed before a particular judge or bench for disposal.
"The combined process of age analysis and grouping will result in disposal of a large number of pending cases," he said.
He advocated a special mechanism for settling cases pertaining to each department for a period of 6 months to one year as a large percentage of pending cases may belong to different government departments. "This will enable fast clearance of all the pending cases of a department," he said.
Kalam also suggested evolving a judicial programme management group with empowered IT team based on experiences of successful mission mode programmes in agriculture, nuclear technology, defence research, space technology and IT and pharma sectors.
"This programme management group must have the authority to create mobile pendency clearance courts which can move to various districts and blocks for hearing the cases in the village itself and provide speedy justice," he said.
Kalam also stressed need for a total e-judiciary system to reduce the agony of litigants.
"From the time the case is registered till it is disposed off with the judgment, the entire process must take place electronically," he said. This would enable easy search, retrieval, grouping, information processing, judicial record processing and disposal of cases in a transparent manner.
"E-Judiciary will have to be in a position to provide information in real time, the rights and responsibilities of the individuals of the society," he said.
He said the judges, lawyers, support staff in the courts and litigants have "all got to play a role and they have to become accountable for their actions".