National Mission of Justice Delivery and legal Reforms
The Union Cabinet of India, on June 23, 2011, approved the proposal for a
National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms in the country. The
Ministry of Law approached the government for initiating this mission with an
aim to increase access to justice by reducing delays and arrears in the system.
Another objective with which the National mission was
approved was that it would enhance accountability through structural changes
and set performance standards, also, providing for fast track courts to clear the
backlog in the judicial system.
Justice, be it, Social, Economic or Political is the spirit of the Indian
Constitution. However, there is a delay in delivering speedy justice due to
certain drawbacks and inefficiencies in the system. With the National Mission,
the law ministry aims at tackling these issues and making the system more
effective and efficient.
What is the objective of the National Mission?
Increasing access by reducing delay and arrears in the system. Enhancing
accountability through structural changes and setting performance standards
The objective of the Mission is to increase access to justice by reducing delays
and arrears in the system and enhancing accountability through structural
changes and setting performance standards. The objectives are to be achieved
in a time-bound manner by 2015-16 through a mission mode approach.
The mission is planned to have a Mission Directorate, an Advisory Council, and a
Governing Council for overseeing the implementation of the Mission.
Areas covered by the National Mission
Policy and legislative changes, re-engineering of procedures, human resource
development, leveraging ICT, and improving the physical infrastructure of
subordinate courts. Infrastructure development is a much-needed requirement
of the subordinate judiciary. Through the enhancement of the funding pattern
from 50:50 to 75:25 for the States and 90:10 for the North-East region under
the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme the requirement is planned to be met.
The Central Government is assured of bearing an estimated expenditure of Rs.
5510 crore for ve years for the Mission Mode Project.
It aimed to increase access to justice by reducing delays and arrears and
enhancing accountability through structural changes and setting performance
standards. The focus was on infrastructure development in the courts through
computerization, improving physical infrastructure, and human resource
The salient features of the National Mission are –
The National Mission would comprise of Advisory Council, Governing Council,
National Mission Leader, and the Mission Directorate.
The Advisory Council is to advise on the goals, objectives, and strategies of the
National Mission and the Action Plan and its implementation and performance
of the Mission in meeting its objectives and would be chaired by the Minister
for Law and Justice and would have membership from Parliament, State
Governments, Jurists & senior officers of Government of
•The Governing Council would facilitate implementation, give policy directions
and oversee the work of the Mission and would be headed by the Minister for
Law and Justice.
The Secretary, Department of Justice would be the National Mission Leader.
A Mission Directorate would be constituted to implement and monitor the
various initiatives/program of the National Mission. It would be headed by an
officer of the rank of the Joint Secretary who would act as the Mission Director.
An Action Plan has been drawn up which would of course be subjected to
change once the Governing Council meets to set out the agenda.
•Inadequacy of infrastructure facilities in District and Subordinate courts has
remained a major bottleneck in the judicial system largely contributing to the
accumulation of arrears. So, a preliminary assessment of the requirement of
infrastructure for subordinate courts from the States was also made
“JUSTICE, Social, Economic and Political” is the spirit and vision of the
Constitution which WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA have solemnly given to ourselves
on 26″ November 1949. The State must secure a social order in which the legal
system of the nation promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity and
shall, in particular, ensure that opportunities for
securing justice are not denied to any citizen because of economic or other
disabilities. Access to Justice is the key to realizing this vision. Access to quick
and quality justice must be the focal point.
However, in the matter of speedy delivery of justice, the system has not been
successful, largely because of the explosion in litigation which, whilst
indicating, in a sense, the confidence of the people in the system, also results
in increasing frustration and disillusionment with the said system.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister, at “The Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief
Justices” held on the 16″ of August 2009, described the huge arrears and case
backlogs as the “scourge” of the
Indian legal system. The problem of arrears is not new and various attempts
have been made to tackle it. A practical, effective, detailed, and achievable
system for tackling arrears must be
attempted. It is in this spirit that we have a Vision Plan, namely, to reduce the
pendency of cases from 15 years to 3
Years, Ultimately, an efficient legal and judicial system that delivers quick and
quality justice reinforces the confidence of people in the rule of law, facilitates
investment and production of wealth enables better distributive justice,
promotes basic human rights, and enhances
accountability and democratic governance.
To be able to achieve the above objective, it is felt necessary to articulate this
STATEMENT which captures the imagination of the functionaries comprehends
the essential elements of the idea of timely justice and construct a systematic
program of action for
expediting the processes of justice. The functionalities include all
stakeholders, the judicial system, the bar, the litigants, and Governments, both
Central and States.
Any Vision Statement in this regard may not be able to project workable
deliverables beyond a period of 10 years because of the unprecedented
developments taking place in the technology,
economy, and polity of the nation. Nor is it possible to capture all aspects of
judicial reform in one document. As such, the present attempt is to focus on
two major goals in judicial reform namely:
access by reducing delay and arrears in the system, and,
-enhancing accountability through structural changes and setting performance
standards and capacities
THE MISSION STATEMENT THE ACTION PLAN
Immediate Measures for Implementation
Creation of National Arrears Grid/Identification of Arrears.
Identification of Bottlenecks in crisis areas.
Tackling the Bottleneck Areas.
Adoption of innovative measures for expeditious case disposal.
Focus on selection, training, and performance assessment of judicial personnel
and court management executives.
Efficient utilization of the judicial system and existing infrastructure through
effective manning, effective planning, and_ timely management by increasing
the use of technology and management methods.
Uncluttering the System: Removing dead weeds and preventing their regrowth.
Management and administrative changes.
THE NATIONAL ARREARS GRID:
IDENTIFYING THE ARREARS
The purpose of the National Arrears Grid is to ascertain, analyze the exact
number of arrears in every court on a scientific basis, and to oversee the
continued reduction of such arrears, increase in efficiency, and optimal
utilization of infrastructure.
The National Arrears Grid shall be constituted in the form of a Committee
comprising the following:
A Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of India. Deputy Chairman, Planning
Attorney General for India. Solicitor General of India.
3 Chief Justices of High Courts as nominated by the Chief Justice of India.
Director, National Judicial Academy. (vii) Director, IIM, Ahmedabad.
An officer was nominated by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.
Financial Controller, Department of Expenditure (for 6/33 release of grants for
the utilization of funds for the reduction plan).
Within 8 days of the meeting, each High Court shall report to the National
Arrears Grid its respective arrears and the arrears in the subordinate Courts
falling within its respective jurisdiction.
Reports from the High Courts should contain the details of pending cases,
including, inter alia, the cause title of the matter, the year of lodgement, the
category of the case, and the next date of listing.
It may be noted that all cases which are pending disposal in courts as of
1.1.2009 shall be treated as arrears.
The Grid will appoint a reporting executive for each High Court to give weekly
the reduction of arrears. All cases which are treated as arrears under the above
denition will involve the preparation of short written arguments and
timetables to be vexed by the Judge/Court Executives. Time tables for disposals
of cases will also be published on the Internet.
The Woolf Report of 1996 emphasized that the judiciary must generate
accurate judicial statistics revisable daily. The ow of information relating to
statistics is vital. The Grid will employ specially trained computer experts, statisticians, and software
designers to ensure that this database is uniform and fed efficiently into the
Grid. The Grid should be in control of statistics
and full-time rapporteurs must be appointed for that purpose.
The Grid will have a map that will show the location and manning of every
The court in the country includes the name of the Presiding Officer, the arrears
before him, as well as the facilities available, The Grid, by a process of mutual and quick consultation, will
offer mobility so that, wherever required, strengthening is afforded to the
Courts, which need either infrastructure or manpower support to achieve
IDENTIFICATION OF BOTTLENECKS: CLEARING THE SYSTEM
Studies have shown that cases under certain statutes and areas of law are
choking dockets of magisterial and specialized courts, and the same need to be
Bottlenecks shall be identified as follows:
Cases under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
Cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Regular murder cases/appeals.
Civil cases, including suits that may have been rendered infructuous.
Cases under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Petty cases such as Traffic Challans.
Motor Accident Claims.
has to be worked out. Those in need of expeditious resolution of their cases,
such as senior citizens, terminally ill persons, Pre-trial and Juvenile prisoners,
women who are victims of violence, must receive a fast track and out-of-turn
disposal. This cannot be done haphazardly, it needs to be uniform, organized,
TACKLING THE BOTTLENECKS:
Fast Track procedures shall be evolved to deal with the cases earmarked as
Retired Judges and eminent lawyers may be appointed as ad-hoc Judges for
one year to deal with arrears. While Retired District and Sessions Judges could
be inducted vis-a-vis subordinate courts, Retired High Court Judges may be
appointed in the High Courts.
Special Court Rooms, additional buildings, and other infrastructure may be
provided for the above purpose.
A timetable for the reduction of bottleneck arrears may be set; with (preferably)
the arrears as of 1.1.2009 to be liquidated by 31.12.2011. Increased
infrastructural support in bottleneck areas must be considered on a war footing.
Top-quality executives may be recruited to ensure time management, effective
utilization of infrastructure, and management of personnel for courts.
All cases which shall be processed by Special Courts under the above scheme
will be conducted on a non-stop day-to-day basis with no adjournments except
in rare circumstances.
A suggestion about cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act
has been put forth by the Delhi High Court. It has been observed that cheque
bouncing cases generally end up in some kind of amicable settlement soon
after the presence of the accused is secured. The Delhi High Court suggests
that for such cases a shift system could be used so that more judicial
manpower could be deployed within the constraints of limited infrastructure.
ADOPTION OF INNOVATIVE MEASURES FOR EXPEDITIOUS DISPOSAL
‘The Presiding Officers of Courts will be given laptops pre-installed with
suitable software enabling them to type out quick and short judgments. Where
necessary, personal executives will provide additional assistance.
All cases involving traffic offenses or bailable offenses can be dealt with
through the web and video conferencing technology.
Where necessary, video conferencing will be resorted to for witness testimony
Senior law students, fresh graduates from National Law Schools, and MBA
graduates may also be appointed as Court Managers. However, to attract such
professionals as Court Managers, a structure of incentives must be mapped
out, as the bulk of such professionals prefer to join the corporate sector due to
the financial incentives offered.
Incentives to delay matters must be identified and eliminated. There shall
remove “benefits” of delay sought by unscrupulous litigants. Such measures
must include heavy realistic mesne ports, actual, compensatory, and even pun
FOCUS ON SELECTION TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE OF JUDICIAL
PERSONNEL AND COURT MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVES
All vacancies in High Courts to be filled up within 8 weeks. Eminent and
competent lawyers who satisfy existing criteria of legal acumen, integrity, and
highly dedicated service to be selected.
Existing memorandum of procedures to have a shorter time-frame to facilitate
the lling up of backlog vacancies of Judges within 8 weeks in High Courts.
Till now vacancies in the subordinate Courts have been called up using a
the examination followed by an interview. The existing procedure should be tailored
into a 14-week program during which advertisements, examinations,
interviews, and selections should be carried out for filling up vacancies in
the subordinate Courts. It is suggested that Selection
Committees should consist not only of Judges but also leaders of the Bar and
other independent constituents.
The utilization of time is important and executives appointed will measure the
utilization of time in terms of an objective criterion to know whether there is
Centrally Sponsored Schemes for Judicial Development – 5 Year Plan [2021-
Since the CSS for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary and
Gram Nyayalayas Scheme will now be running in Mission mode under the
National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, the Ministry of Law
aims to amplify the development process.
Given below are the set targets to be achieved during this ve-year plan:
Construction 4000 residential units for judicial officers of District and
Subordinate Courts Construction of:
3800 court halls
1450 lawyer halls, 1450 toilets complexes
3800 digital computer rooms
Recurring and Non-Recurring grants to be provided for 5 years to support the
Operationalization of Gram Nyayalayas in implementing states with an
expenditure of Rs.50 crore
To monitor the initiatives being taken up under the mission, the following steps
have been taken by the Ministry of Law:
An online monitoring system, wherein, the progress on construction of
amenities and infrastructure will be managed
Nyaya Vikas-2.0 web portal and mobile application for monitoring the financial
and physical progress
Gram Nyayalayas Portal to register the state-wise progress. Need for Judicial
Development in India
As per the official data, many courts in India still function on rented premises
and do not have the basic amenities available
There is a lack of residential accommodation for Judicial Officers
The retarded and old methodology of conducting trials and lack of innovation
To overcome all of the above-mentioned challenges, the government and other
authorities must work for the development of this sector as the Indian
The constitution ensures justice to be provided to one and all.
The Way Forward
The ratio of Judges and Advocates to the number of pending cases in the
country is vastly imbalanced and resulting in the delay in providing justice. It
has, therefore, become a necessity to work for the advancement and
digitalization of the judiciary.
With the Digital India campaign making its marks in various fields, the law
the sector must also adapt trials through video conferencing in minor and bailable
cases. Steps must be taken to
provide the existing courts with computer systems and update them with the
The data which is registered in less can be moved to online portals with proper
cybersecurity measures are being implemented. To objectify and make the
Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Judicial Development a success, the
concerned authorities must stringently implement the
the ve-year plan proposed.
What narrative judiciary has created within our country amongst government
and public is that all the problems in the judiciary are due to lack of judicial
infrastructure and funds. Therefore as the number of courts and other
infrastructure buildings computer etc. Will be developed the problem will be
solved automatically. The most unfortunate aspect is that government also
what the judiciary tells them. The real problem is the incompetency of the
judiciary which is been created for a long time judiciary is running without
proper accountability, which not only created inefficiency but also corruption in
The solution to this problem is the very simple government may provide a
a platform for the general public and lawyers where they are willing to contribute
in the sentence where they feel any judgment or order needs scrutiny maybe
sent to the data bank. Government should make it clear that this data is
collected for research purposes to understand the problem and corrective
measures may be discussed with the judiciary when there is sufficient data
the judiciary will be bound to
recognize the real problem in the judiciary.
The real problem in the present judiciary is that most judicial officers are not
sound enough in even basic law neither they decide full controversies most of
the time, sometimes not even full facts are understood there ending is not
supported by law and many times are contrary to law. Their position is like a
a student who is solving 100 mathematical problems daily but there is nobody to
check whether his solution is right or not. The data collected by the public and
scrutinized by penal of experts created for this purpose will identify the ones
who are not t for the judiciary at present we have no proper mechanism to
remove incompetent judicial officers neither sufficient data to
establish their incompetency in democracy public should also have some say
against the judiciary, they should have some empowerment government was not
able to create check and
balance with this institution still no way out only shining the wrong direction
thinking infrastructure, building number of judges is the only problem or real
By Sankalp Mirani
Sankalp Mirani References – Vision Statement Presented to
Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India by Dr. M. Veerappa
Moily, Hon’ble Union Minister for Law and Justice
At The National Consultation for Strengthening the Judiciary towards Reducing
Pendency and Delays,
October 24, 2009
Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi