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Govts must restrain from approaching courts: President

Source: PTI
July 31, 2010 16:45 IST
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Governments being the biggest litigants should exercise restraint in approaching courts in order to decongest the system and reduce overall pendency of cases, President Pratibha Patil said on Saturday.

"Government agencies being one of the biggest litigants must exercise restraint from routinely instituting litigation and clogging the system," she said while inaugurating a seminar on judicial reforms.

Calling for efforts to ensure speedy delivery of justice, Patil stressed on the need to re-look into the archaic laws to make them in tune with the present requirements, saying "making the language of law simple can prevent unnecessary litigation".

She said there was a need to analayse challenges, particularly the infrastructural requirements for a quick justice delivery system and for reducing the mounting cases.

"We must take stock of the challenges and structural weaknesses which beset our legal system impeding equitable access to prompt and quality justice. Judicial reforms occupy a salient place in government's agenda," the president said.

She also voiced concern over the "explosion of litigation" saying that current figures reveal that the arrears in high courts exceed 40 lakh cases, while in the subordinate courts, it surpasses 270 lakh.

"Now as the chief justice of India has talked about the difference between arrears and pendency in cases, I think we will have to review these figures," she said.

Earlier, CJI S H Kapadia had made distinction between the arrears and pendency of cases and said the calculation has to be reviewed as there are flaws in it.

The president said the archaic laws, if needed, should altogether be scrapped.

"There cannot be better governance without better laws and there cannot be better laws if antiquated ones remain.

Archaic laws and outdated administrative regulations must be scrutinised and if necessary scrapped or amended. Making the language of law simple can prevent unnecessary litigation," Patil said.

She appealed for making the court procedures simple and straight for speedy justice.

"We must re-engineer and simplify court procedures, which otherwise tend to make litigation unduly slow and protracted. Frequent demands and liberal grant of adjournments, filing of multiple suits and similar tactics make judicial productivity sluggish. Timely pronouncement of judgments and quick execution of decrees would be beneficial," Patil said.

She expressed concern over the disproportionate ratio of population and judicial officers which was coming in way of timely disposal of cases.
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