Union Cabinet approves the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms
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Union Cabinet approves the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms

Bar & Bench

The Government in order to provide adequate infrastructure in lower courts and to reduce the backlog of cases has agreed to operationalise the Law Ministry’s National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal reforms.

The Government in order to provide adequate infrastructure in lower courts and to reduce the backlog of cases has agreed to operationalise the Law Ministry’s National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal reforms.

The Government had earlier in December 2009 approved ‘in principle’ the proposal of setting up a National Mission with directions that specific approvals from competent authority will be sought on different components of the Mission.

The Centre has now agreed to increase its contribution by Rs. 2,000 crore in the next five years to provide trial courts with adequate infrastructure.

The clearance of the proposal means the Centre will bear 75 percent of the cost of infrastructure expansion of trial courts in the next five years. The Central Government will now contribute Rs. 5,500 crore. In case of north-eastern states, the Centre will continue to bear 90 percent of the expansion cost.

Last year, the Government estimate indicated that the infrastructure needs of the District and subordinate courts in the States (excluding Delhi, Allahabad and J&K) was around Rs. 7,077 crore ($1.57 billion). A very detailed report was prepared by the Ministry of Law and Justice, which details the data regarding court complexes, buildings, the infrastructure needed and the cost, with a year by year breakup.

The Mission also includes setting up of large number of fast track courts for fast disposal of cases.

DNA reports, Law minister Veerappa Moily said that besides certain cases, those related to crime against women such as rape, dowry harassment, domestic violence, acid attack, molestation etc would now be tried in fast track courts so that justice can be provided to victims within a given time frame. Similarly, all matters concerning children and disabled will also be tried in fast track courts.

According to PIB release, the National Mission 2011-16 will focus on two major goals, increasing access by reducing delay and arrears and enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities.

The Mission intends to create All India Judicial Service, Litigation Policy, Judicial Impact Assessment of all new laws, amendment to the Negotiable Instruments Act and Arbitration and Reconciliation Act. The Mission also includes hiring of more judges and court staff, improving physical infrastructure of lower courts and promoting use of computers and other ICT technology in delivery of justice.

The Mission will have a Mission Directorate, an Advisory Council and a Governing Council for overseeing the implementation of the Mission.

Infrastructure development is a much needed requirement of the subordinate judiciary. Bar & Bench had last year provided an in-depth coverage on the infrastructure needs of the sub-ordinate courts.

Last year in November 2010, the Government had allocated an amount of Rs. 1,470 crore (approximately $300 million) for the Eleventh Five Year Plan period for development and modernisation of judicial infrastructure and improving access to justice.

Even after all these efforts and allocation of funds, the pendency of cases has only gone up. Bar & Bench had recently reported the pending statistics as released by the Supreme Court.  According to those statistics, more than 3.2 crore cases are pending.

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