The Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting of Ministry of Law and Justice was held under the chairmanship of Shri M Veerappa Moily, Minister for Law and Justice on 16 May 2011 in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Members of Parliament (MPs) as Members of the Consultative Committee. The officials from Ministry of Law and Justice and NIC attended the meeting.
The Chairman and Minister for Law and Justice apprised the Members of the Committee on Action Taken Report of the last meeting held on 6 December 2010:
- A status on setting up of family courts in the States was informed.
- Regional Consultations were held on Electoral Reforms in Bhopal, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Bangalore jointly with the Election Commission of India. During these meetings, 13th Finance Commission Recommendations were also discussed with the Chief Justices of High Courts.
- Implementation of 13th Finance Commission recommendations and utilization of grants was discussed in a State Level Conference on 5th May, 2011 with Law/Home Secretaries, Finance Secretaries and Registrar Generals of the High Courts. 15 States have formulated State Litigation Policy and sent a copy to Department of Justice which is under examination.
The other major issues discussed at he meeting pertained to the E-Court Project, improving justice delivery – steps to reduce pendency, implementation of reports of Law Commission of India and Rajiv Gandhi Advocate’s Training Scheme.
E-Court Project – The scheme of computerization of district and subordinate courts in the country and for upgradation of ICT infrastructure of the higher courts was approved at a cost of Rs.441.8 crore in February 2007 revised in September 2010 at a cost of Rs. 935 crore due to increase in number of court complexes and courts, expansion of scope and additional items and increase in rates of products and services. Phase I of the Project is planned to be implemented in 12000 courts till 31st March, 2012 and remaining 2249 courts till 31st March, 2014. The following points were raised by the Members during discussion:
(i) States should be given a freedom to modify the software applications for the courts.
(ii) Software for the e-court project should take care of regional languages for subordinate courts .
(iii) At district and taluka level for providing power backups for hardware and other installations an option for solar energy may also be considered.
(iv) Training modules for judges and their staff and familiarizing advocates may be provided for within the scheme.
(v) Open source software should be used instead of propriety software as it requires lot of investment in future. In this regard, a specific direction should be issued to the implementing agency.
(vi) The procurement of software and hardware should be decentralized without compromising the quality.
(vii) Close coordination with the State Governments be done.
(viii) Technical manpower provided for the purpose should be of good quality.
Improving justice delivery – steps to reducing pendency
The members felt that:
(i) Petty cases should be disposed off through morning/evening courts/shift courts and Lok Adalats.
(ii) Reform measures should be taken up with regard to Appointment of Judges and Judicial Standards and Accountability.
(iii) A balance should be maintained while reducing the pendency that there should be no compromise on quality of judgments. A study would be useful to study this correlation. Department of Justice will take up this study.
Implementation of Law Commission Reports
Members were assured that Pending recommendations of Law Commission will be considered in the Department of Law and action will be taken expeditiously.
Rajiv Gandhi Advocate’s Training Scheme
Members were informed that Rs. 50 lakh have been allocated to National Law University for imparting the training. The first batch training will take place in the month of June-July, 2011.
Members present at the meeting were Members of Parliament Shri Manish Tiwari, Shri shadilal batra, Shri M B Rajesh, Shri P Rajeeve and Shri Gopal Vyas.