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Published : May 22, 2012 | Author : YSRAO JUDGE
Category : Law - lawyers & legal Profession | Total Views : 5995 | Rating :

Y.SRINIVASA RAO, M.A(English).,B.Ed.,LL.M.; Judicial Magistrate of I Class; Topper in LL.M

Docket Explosion

In 1987, The Law Commission of India recommended 50 judges per million of population instead of 10.5. The recommendation remained buried in the Report follow-up action.

The litigant has only one life yet litigation has several lives to see its end. The central importance of a well functioning judicial system for realizing the goal of justice –social, economic and political peace and stability, growth and development as well as for upholding the rule of law, is by now well recognized. It cannot be said that judges are powerless power. If Society denies Justice, Expectations of human beings darken, such depression may turn into dread. Dread may transform into despair. Such despair may evolves into explosive terrorism. We can get better results by effective making the system of justice, justices and justicing truly accessible to the have-nots. The contribution of Indian judiciary in enlarging and enforcing human rights is widely appreciated. Its handling of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has brought its institutions closer to the oppressed and weaker sections of the society. There is widespread praise for the quality of the judgments delivered, and the hard-work being done by our Indian Judiciary. The citizens of our can legitimately feel proud of this recognition. Yet, there is growing criticism, sometimes from uninformed or ill-informed quarters about the inability of our Courts to effectively deal with and wipe out the huge backlog of cases. Nevertheless many countries world over are facing problem of delay in dispensation of justice, It is a major problem being faced by Indian Judiciary. Therefore, Indian Judicial System is under an obligation to deliver prompt and inexpensive justice to its consumers, without in any manner compromising on the quality of justice or the elements of fairness, equality and impartiality.

What does ‘Docket Explosion’ mean?
To answer this question succinctly, it is enough to say that Delay in the context of justice denotes the time consumed in the disposal of case, in excess of the time within which a case can be reasonably expected to be decided by the Court. However, no prudent man expects a case to be decided overnight. However, a case must be decided by the Court within which a case can be reasonably expected to be decided.

Judicial Response on Docket Explosion:
In East India Hotels Ltd. vs Syndicate Bank : I (1992) BC 1 SC, 45 (1991) DLT 476 SC; it was held that ‘’ No doubt long delay in disposal of cases due to docket explosion became a ruse to unscrupulous litigant to abuse the due course of law to protract litigation and remain in unjust or wrongful possession of the property.‘’ In K.K. Baskaran Vs. State Rep By Its Secretary, Tamilnadu & Ors; decided on 4 March, 2011,the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that’’ The conventional legal proceedings incurring huge expenses of court fees, advocates' fees, apart from other inconveniences involved and the long delay in disposal of cases due to docket explosion in Courts, would not have made it possible for the depositors to recover their money, leave alone the interest thereon.’’

In Motion for consideration of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2005, as passed by Rajya Sabha (Bill passed), it was observed as follows: ‘’There is strict judicial control in the Indian system. It will greatly enable the courts to clear the arrears of cases. A perennial bane of the Indian judiciary is the never-ending arrears of cases. Our judiciary is suffering from some sort of a docket explosion ‘’.In State Of U.P vs Jai Bir Singh, decided on 5 May, 2005,The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that ‘’ Law, especially industrial law, which regulates the rights and remedies of the working class, unfamiliar with the sophistications of definitions and shower of decisions, unable to secure expert legal opinion, what with poverty pricing them out to the justice market and denying them the staying power to withstand the multi-decked litigative process, de facto denies social justice if legal drafting is vagarious, definitions indefinite and Court rulings contradictory. Is it possible, that the legislative chambers are too pre-occupied with other pressing business to listen to Court signals calling for clarification ambiguous clauses? A careful, prompt amendment of Section 2(j) would have pre-empted this docket explosion before tribunals and Courts. This Court, perhaps more than the legislative and Executive branches, is deeply concerned with law's delays and to devise a prompt delivery system of social justice.''’’

Notion of Docket Explosion.

To know the notion of Docket Explosion, it is apt to see the following table which lets out the State wise statistics of the pending cases.

State wise pending cases:
*Total Pending cases as of June 30, 2010 (BHC-Bombay High Court;CHC- Calcutta High Court ;GHC- Guwahati High Court ;KHC- Kerala High Court ;P&H HC- Punjab & Haryana High Court)

The Law Minister had in October 2009 released a vision statement at a two-day conference on National Consultation for Strengthening the Judiciary Towards Reducing Pendency and Delays to reduce the backlog of cases. However, some of the suggestions laid out in the vision statement have not been included in the NLP such as introduction of night courts, appointment of judges on a contractual basis and establishment of a National Arrears Grid.

The NLP focuses on the 10 core issues and discusses adjournments, quality of legal drafts, revision of legal fees for lawyers and several other issues. Here is a brief of the issues discussed in the NLP:


# It discusses the purpose, in reducing average pendency time from 15 years to 3 years. This also includes identifying ‘bottlenecks’ and removing unnecessary Government cases.

Government Panels, Manuals and Appeals
# Government Panels cannot be vehicles for sustaining incompetent and inefficient persons. Persons who recommend names for inclusion on the Panel are requested to be careful in making such recommendations and to take care to check the credentials of those recommended with particular reference to legal knowledge and integrity.
# Screening Committees for constitution of Panels will be introduced at every level to assess the skills and capabilities of people who are desirous of being on Government Panels before their inclusion on the Panel. The Ministry of Law shall ensure that the constitution of Screening Committees will include representatives of the Department concerned. The Screening Committees will make their recommendations to the Ministry of Law. Emphasis will be on identifying areas of core competence, domain expertise and areas of specialization. It cannot be assumed that all lawyers are capable of conducting every form of litigation.
# The fee structure will be revised for the Government lawyers and reduce the delay in payment of legal fees.
# The ‘Government Advocates Manual will contain draft format .
# The NLP has detailed the process of filing an appeal and stressed the reasons for filing of an appeal before various courts.

The NLP ends, “All pending cases involving Government will be reviewed. This Due Diligence process shall involve drawing upon statistics of all pending matters, which shall be provided for by all Government departments (including PSUs). The Office of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General shall also be responsible for reviewing all pending cases and filtering frivolous and vexatious matters from the meritorious ones”. There are more than 2 crore cases pending before various Courts and it is estimated that the Government is involved in nearly 50 percent of the cases. The office of Attorney General or the Solicitor General may not have the appropriate staffing to review such a huge backlog of cases.

Suggestions And Conclusions:
1. Inadequate judge strength is a main cause for the delay in disposal of cases. Therefore, urgent need is making the right appointment of judicial officers in sub-ordinate courts and Judges in superior courts. To some extent delay in the disposal of cases is also "judge made”.

2. The "inspection" of subordinate courts should be real but not "routine".

3. While the system is accessible and open to the rich and those from the creamy layer, the under-privileged have no money and are priced out of the institution. The Bar, an indispensable factor in the adversarial system, is too expensive for the lowly and the forlorn.

4. The judges , who deals with a case, shall have a complete control over the file, otherwise, they cannot control the proceedings resulting in loss of time.

5. Unnecessary adjournments must be strictly avoided. Pass over for silly reasons, Boy cott, lengthy call work, lack of court management by the presiding officer are another reasons for delay. Therefore, the Bar and Bench have to resolve to remedy these ills.

6. Lok Adalats will help a lot to reduce pendency of cases.

7. Another cause for delay in the disposal of cases is “procedural delays". The Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure have been amended to cut short avoidable delays.

8. Appeals upon appeals make justice through litigation inordinately dilatory and costly, and the law becomes the last means for the aggrieved to get relief.

9. Inasmuch as Judgments typically take years to pronounce, one appeal is needed, two is too much, yet in our system, there are four or five decks to spiral up.

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Article Comments

Posted by Bobby Mani on April 28, 2016
The delay in justice in courts is due to explosion of cases in courts. This explosion of cases in courts is due to non compliance of the following sections in Indian Penal Code by the courts in India. Giving of false evidence should be punished with at most severity because it pollutes the steam of justice. It is not just a crime against the opposite party but a crime against the judiciary.

Section 191 of Indian Penal Code provides
"Whoever being legally bound by an oath or by an express provision of law to state the truth, or being bound by law to make a declaration upon any subject, makes any statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, is said to give false evidence".

Inidan Penal Code. section 193. Punishment for false evidence.—Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or fabri­cates false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine, and whoever intentionally gives or fabricates false evidence in any other case, shall be punished with imprisonment of either de­scription for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

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