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SC fined 14 states and 1 UT for not responding to Law Commission's report

Aug 21, 2014 18:59 IST

The Supreme Court fined 14 state governments and 1 Union Territory (UT) on 20 August 2014 for not responding to Law Commission's 245th Report on Arrears and Backlogs in Judiciary. The fine of 25000 rupees was imposed on each state government and Union Territory.

The Supreme Court bench headed by T S Thakur asked the states to give their opinion on Law Commission's Report by November 2014, the date of next hearing in Supreme Court.

Further, refusing to take a lenient view on the matter, it asked the States to look at the recommendation made by the Law Commission and say whether the formula based on disposal rate method was acceptable or not.

Earlier in May 2014, Supreme Court had asked these states and their respective High Courts to give their response on the formula suggested by Law Commission's report. It asked states to look at the recommendations given by Law Commission and give a response on whether the Disposal Rate Method was acceptable or not.

245th Report of 20th Law Commission

20th Law Commission headed by Justice (retd) A P Shah in its 245th Report titled Arrears and Backlog: Creating Additional Judicial (wo)manpower planning suggested Disposal Rate Method to clear the existing backlog of cases and the new cases which are adding to the backlog.

The report of the Law Commission is driven by Supreme Court decision in Imtiyaz Ahmad v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors case. In it had asked the Law Commission to undertake an inquiry and suggest recommendations regarding creation of additional court for eliminating delays, clearance of pending cases and deduction in costs of those cases.

Some highlights of 245th report

  • It has made recommendations about the backlog of cases in undivided Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, Maharashtra, Sikkim and Uttarakhand along with the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
  • The report has given a rational and scientific definition of arrears and delays and recommends observing it on a continuous basis.
  • The report suggested a formula that focuses on a multi-prong approach and rational judicial (wo)manpower planning.
  • The commission in its report suggested two different approaches to deal with backlog of cases. These are: (i) Practice Assessment Approach: It involves a thorough study of the filing of cases, their disposal, case-length and pendency. A comparative analysis of this study would help policy makers in determining the time taken by each court in solving a system-wide average case or a median case; and (ii) Normative Assessment Approach: For having fix time standards for disposal of cases, commission suggested that urgent measures need to be undertaken to have uniform data collection and data management methods.

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