CJI writes to govt proposing National Court Management System

SH KAPADIA - CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA

SH KAPADIA - CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA

DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

New Delhi: At a time when four different benches of the Supreme Court are trying to rescue the justice delivery system from the web of 3 crore pendency, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia has written to the government proposing an innovative method to achieve the goal. Justice Kapadia, in a letter to the law minister last month, proposed setting up of National Court Management System Committee (NCMSC) to develop and implement the proposals and an Advisory Committee consisting of two SC judges and CJs and judges of HCs, to be nominated by him, to oversee implementation of the proposals, which include:

National Framework of Court Excellence to set standards of performance for courts and address the issues of quality, responsiveness and timelines

  1. A case management system to ensure user friendliness of the judicial process to stakeholders
  2. National System of Judicial Statistics for common national platform for recording and maintaining judicial statistics across the country
  3. A court development plan system to provide a framework for 5-year plan for future development of Indian judiciary
  4. A human resource development strategy to set up standards for selection and training of judges in the subordinate courts

dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

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Govt faces Supreme Court ire over pendency

Supreme Court of India

DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said pendency of 3 crore cases could not be effectively dealt with unless the government created more courts and filled vacancies because annual disposal of cases by trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court only matched the numbers filed every year, leaving the backlog untouched.

If a bench of Justices A K Ganguly and T S Thakur questioned additional solicitor general Harin Raval on the Centre‘s policy decisions on judicial reforms including speeding up of justice delivery, another bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar was critical of the UPA government’s decision to scrap fast-track courts.

The bench of Justices Ganguly and Thakur accepted Raval’s contention that it would be a mismatch if the government was asked to create more posts of judges when a large number of such posts was lying vacant.

But it wanted to know from the ASG whether any of the policy decisions intended to create more courts in view of a finding that the country would require 75,000 more trial judges in the next three decades.

It asked the Centre to refer to the Law Commission, which is doing a comprehensive study in this regard, to include in its terms of reference the need for increasing the number of courts and ways and means to deal with the vacancy problem.

On the other hand, amicus curiae and senior advocate P S Narasimha drew the attention of a bench of Justices Patnaik and Kumar to the scrapping of fast-track courts from March 31, 2011.

The bench said during the All India Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, there was unanimity that FTCs had played a constructive role in reducing arrears and should be continued.

It looked into the law ministry’s file relating to discontinuation of these courts and found that a decision had been taken to run morning and evening courts in place of fast-track courts. Narasimha said whenever there was an attempt to hinder speedy justice, constitutional courts had inherent power to take necessary corrective measures to ensure financial grants to sustain existing justice delivery system. The bench reserved verdict on the issue.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-faces-Supreme-Court-ire-over-pendency/articleshow/11470131.cms

Get tough with ‘killers on wheels’: Supreme Court

Supreme Court of India

Expresses concern at rising number of deaths in road accidents

Expressing serious concern over the rising number of deaths in road accidents, the Supreme Court on Thursday called for revisiting the sentencing policy to ensure harsh punishment for the ‘killers on wheels’.

Upholding the three-year jail sentence awarded by the Bombay High Court to Alister Anthony Pareira for causing the death of seven persons when his car ran into the pavement in Mumbai, a Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and K.S. Khehar said the punishment must be in proportion to the crime.

Writing the judgment, Justice Lodha said, “The punishment to be awarded for a crime must not be irrelevant but it should conform to and be consistent with the atrocity and brutality with which the crime has been perpetrated, the enormity of the crime warranting public abhorrence and it should “respond to the society’s cry for justice against the criminal.”

Drunken driving

The Bench said: “The World Health Organisation, in the Global Status Report on Road Safety, has pointed out that speeding and drunk driving are the major contributing factors in road accidents. According to National Crime Records Bureau [NCRB], the total number of deaths due to road accidents in India every year is now over 1,35,000. The NCRB report also states drunken driving as a major factor for road accidents.”

It said the country had the dubious distinction of registering the highest number of deaths in road accidents. “It is high time lawmakers revisit the sentencing policy reflected in Section 304 A IPC [death due to negligence]. It is true that the appellant has paid compensation of Rs. 8,50,000 but no amount of compensation could relieve the family of victims from the constant agony. As a matter of fact, the High Court had been quite considerate and lenient in awarding to the appellant a sentence of three years for an offence under Section 304 Part II IPC [death caused by driving] where seven persons were killed.”

According to the Bench, “the facts and circumstances of the case which have been proved by the prosecution in bringing home the guilt of the accused under Section 304 Part II IPC undoubtedly show despicable aggravated offence warranting punishment proportionate to the crime. Seven precious human lives were lost by the act of the accused. For an offence like this which has been proved against the appellant, the sentence of three years awarded by the High Court is too meagre and not adequate but since no appeal has been preferred by the State, we refrain from considering the matter for enhancement.”

“Travesty of justice”

On the plea for letting the appellant off with the sentence already undergone i.e. two months in a case like this, the Bench said “in our view, it would be travesty of justice and highly unjust, unfair, improper and disproportionate to the gravity of crime.”

It said: “We are satisfied that the facts and circumstances of the case do not justify benefit of probation to the appellant for good conduct or for any reduction of sentence. The appeals are, accordingly, dismissed. The appellant’s bail bonds are cancelled. He shall forthwith surrender for undergoing the remaining sentence as awarded by the High Court in the judgment dated September 6, 2007.”