The Chief Justice Himachal High Court, Justice Kurian Joseph launches the Mission Mode Programme for reduction of pendency of old cases w.e.f 1st July, 2011 in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh and Subordinate Courts and also has set out targets for disposal of cases relating to under trials, Senior Citizens, Minors, Disabled and other Marginalized groups in the society, as desired by the Ministry of Law and Justice. The aim of the Mission is to reduce the delay in justice delivery and to establish the standards in execution of its business by all Courts in the State by introducing structural changes and to increase accountability.
He said that although the rate of disposal in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh is higher than the institution because against 36697 cases instituted during the year 2010, the disposal is 42759, yet in the programme launched now it is excepted that, no pre-2005 case will remain pending in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh by the end of this year i.e., 31st December, 2011. As per programme launched by the Chief Justice, Justice Kurian Joseph, the following will be the target qua the disposal of different categories of cases pending disposal in the Subordinate Courts by 31st December, 2011:
Petty cases in Subordinate Courts— cases upto the year 2008, Long pending cases in Subordinate Courts—Cases upto the year 2005, Senior Citizens —- Cases upto the year 2008, Minors — Cases upto the year 2008, Disabled Cases upto the year 2008, Other marginalized groups—- cases upto the year 2008, Under trials w.e.f. 1st July to 31st July, 2011, 150 cases.
Besides, in the State of Himachal Pradesh, three Mobile Traffic Magistrates Courts at zonal level i.e., Shimla, Mandi and Dharamshala will be established during this period for disposal of cases pertaining to petty offences and those under the Motor Vehicle Act. Holiday Courts at Shimla, Baddi (Nalagarh), Paonta Sahib and Amb to facilitate those litigants who are in Government or Semi-Government service and unable to pursue their cases during working days are also being set up.
Every Subordinate Court in the State has been given a target of 100 cases for the disposal in each Lok Adalat being held quarterly and in this way has set out a target for disposal of more than 20,000 cases in the Lok Adalats by way of compromise and amicable settlements.
He said that there is another target of setting up Mediation centre in each Judicial District by the end of this year to settle the disputes by way of mediation through trained Mediators in order to fulfill the mandate of Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The credit to fill up one post of Court Manager in the High Court and 11 in District Courts’ in the State well before launching the Mission Mode Programme also goes to the High Court of Himachal Pradesh headed by its Chief Justice, Justice Kurian Joseph.
He said that in the document pertaining to launching of Mission Mode Programme that steps for filling up the vacancies of Judges/Judicial Officers in the High Court and Subordinate Courts will be taken up promptly and the appointments made well in time.
In the field of computerization of the Subordinate Courts in the State, there is proposal to install hardware before 31st December, 2011 and software which has already been made operational in District Court, Mandi, will be made operational in remaining Courts also.
Chief Justice said that under the Programme Mission Mode, the measures to be taken to reduce the pendency in the High Court includes, Grouping of cases involving similar questions of law filed under separate category or group. Constitution of Benches and allocation of work in such a manner so as to achieve optimum out put in respect of disposal of cases by each Bench. Expediting the disposal of cases pertaining to convicts and those in which proceedings before the Lower Courts’ have been stayed, on priority basis. Giving preference to the cases pertaining to matrimonial and other disputes and attempting ADR methods in those cases.
He said that the measures have already taken to liquidate the pendency of cases in the High Court includes the Mediation Centre has been set up in the premises of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Green Bench has been set up in the High Court to solve the environmental disputes, Very recently, a Special Bench has also been set up in the High Court to deal with corruption matters, Preference is given to cases of senior citizens,Judges are designated to deal with the cases of (i) Prisoners (ii) Physically and mentally challenged and (iii) Juveniles, now a Special Bench has also been constituted to deal with the cases of pensioners which will assemble on July 1, 2011, Digital Display Boards have been installed in
the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, which helps the Advocates in avoiding unnecessary adjournments.
He said that measures taken to reduce the pendency in the Subordinate Courts include all the Courts have already been asked by way of instruction to dispose of cases pertaining to the complaints filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, expeditiously depending on the pendency, one Court is exclusively set apart to deal with the cases filed under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, similarly, all the Courts in Himachal Pradesh have been asked for the speedy disposal of Summary cases, all the Courts have been asked to resort to the provisions of Section 258 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the event the police fails or neglects to serve notice upon the accused, Norms of the disposal of cases by the Judicial Officers in Himachal Pradesh have been framed by this High Court and all the Judicial Officers are being assessed monthly as well as quarterly basis on regular side and old cases side. Cases pertaining to under trials, senior citizens and cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act are being disposed of on priority basis. Target for the disposal of old cases is also being given to each Judicial Officer on monthly/quarterly basis and assessments so earned on the basis of disposal etc. are being reflected in their Annual Confidential Reports and recently, all the Special Judges in Himachal Pradesh have been directed to dispose of the cases pertaining to Prevention of Corruption Act up to the year, 2008, by June 30, 2011 positively. Similarly, target for the disposal of cases of under trial Prisoners is also being given to each Court on quarterly basis.