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Friday, August 6, 2021

“Uncharitable Analysis”: Chief Justice On Projected 45 Million Case Pendency In Courts

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Projected statistics of case pendency in India are an “overstatement”, CJI Ramana mentioned. (File)

New Delhi:

The projected statistics that pendency in Indian courts has reached 45 million instances, which is perceived as the lack of the Indian judiciary to deal with the caseload, is an “overstatement” and an “uncharitable analysis” and one of many elements contributing to judicial delays is “luxurious litigation”, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana mentioned on Saturday.

He mentioned conflicts are unavoidable in any society for varied causes, together with political, financial, social, cultural and spiritual, and there’s a must develop mechanisms for battle decision and referred to the Mahabharata, offering an instance of an early try at mediation as a battle decision device.

Mediation is deeply embedded into the Indian ethos and was prevalent earlier than the British adversarial system in India, varied types of mediation had been being practised as a way of dispute decision, he mentioned.

Delivering his keynote tackle on the India-Singapore Mediation Summit “Making Mediation mainstream: Reflections from India and Singapore”, Justice Ramana mentioned many Asian nations have an extended and wealthy custom of collaborative and amicable settlement of disputes.

“The great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, actually provides an example of an early attempt at mediation as a conflict resolution tool, where Lord Krishna attempted to mediate the dispute between the Pandavas and Kauravas. It may be worthwhile to recall that the failure of mediation led to disastrous consequences,” he mentioned.

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He additionally shared a humorous anecdote capturing the perspective of judges on this adversarial system, when a decide was sipping his early morning espresso, flipping by way of the newspaper and his granddaughter approached him and mentioned, “Grandpa, my elder sister has taken away my toy.” The decide’s rapid response was “Do you have any evidence?”

“Mediation, as a concept, is deeply embedded into the Indian ethos. Long before the arrival of the British adversarial system in India, various forms of mediation were being practised as a method of dispute resolution. Disputes were often resolved by the chieftains or elders of the community

“Nonetheless, the institution of the British courts system, in 1775, marked the erosion of community-based indigenous dispute decision mechanisms in India. The British judicial system has finally grow to be the framework, with applicable modifications, for the present judicial system in India,” he said.

He said there are a few contributing factors that have revived the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in India and one of them is related to judicial delays.

“The customarily-quoted statistic that ”pendency” in Indian courts has reached 45 million instances, which is perceived as the lack of the Indian judiciary to deal with the caseload. That is an overstatement and an uncharitable evaluation.

“The term pendency is used to refer to all cases which have not yet been disposed of, without any reference to how long the case has spent in the judicial system. This would mean that a case which was filed yesterday gets added to the pendency statistics. This is, therefore, not a useful indicator of how well, or poorly, a system is doing,” Justice Ramana mentioned.

Admitting that the problem of judicial delays is a posh downside, not simply in India, he mentioned a number of elements contribute in the direction of such a state of affairs.

One among them is an Indian phenomenon referred to as – ”luxurious litigation”, he mentioned. “It is a specific type of litigation wherein parties with resources attempt to frustrate the judicial process and delay it by filing numerous proceedings across the judicial system. Undeniably, the prevailing pandemic has also contributed to our woes,” the CJI mentioned.

“Judges in India, particularly in the constitutional courts, often burn the midnight oil to meet their judicial and administrative case load,” he mentioned, including that the second issue contributing to the expansion of ADR pertains to the elevated entry to justice right here.

The CJI mentioned almost 70 per cent of the inhabitants are eligible for advantages beneath varied schemes of authorized service authorities.

“ADR mechanisms, particularly mediation and conciliation, can reduce pendency, save resources and time, and allow litigants a degree of control over the process and outcome of their dispute resolution process…

“Aside from enhancing and clarifying the regulation as to mediation, the Supreme Courtroom of India additionally made an energetic effort on the executive facet to enhance the mediation panorama in India,” he said and added that there are nearly 43,000 mediation centres here and since 2005, nearly 3.22 million cases have been referred and nearly 1 million cases have been settled by mediation up to March.

Justice Ramana asserted that given the growing scope of mediation, it is time for India to enter mission mode.

To popularise mediation as a cheaper and faster dispute resolution mechanism, a movement needs to be launched, he said.

“Prescribing mediation as a compulsory first step for decision of each allowable dispute will go a great distance in selling mediation. Maybe, an omnibus regulation on this regard is required to fill the vacuum,” he mentioned.

Justice Ramana pressured on the necessity for mediators to endure coaching periods to maintain themselves up to date as their function has now developed from that of a passive facilitator to a job involving advisory participation.

Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon additionally delivered his keynote tackle on the occasion and congratulated Justice Ramana on his appointment because the CJI and mentioned he appears to be like ahead to engaged on varied initiatives taken by the courts.

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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