Fixing time frames for deciding cases, increasing the retirement age of subordinate court judges and setting up special morning and evening courts are some of the measures suggested by the law commission to clear the backlog of over 3.22 crore cases pending in various courts across India.
The commission, which advises the government on legal issues, said the Centre should put in place “timeliness and performance benchmarks” for judges. There was an “urgent need to fix rational, non-mandatory time frames for deciding different types of cases, and use them as a basis for setting judge performance standard, litigant expectations, and making more robust policy recommendations for the judiciary”.
“Unless judges and litigants have clear expectations of how soon their cases are likely to be resolved, there will be little accountability for delays,” the commission headed by justice AP Shah said in its report earlier this month.
The Commission also favoured increasing the retirement age of subordinate court judges from current 60 years to 62 years, and recruitment of new judges to “breakeven and to dispose of the backlog, in a three-year time frame.”
In order to deal with traffic and police challan cases, the Commission recommended setting up of special morning and evening courts. “Recent law graduates may be appointed for short duration of around three years to preside over these special traffic courts,” it added.
For payment of fines, online facilities and designated counters in the courts complex should be made, it recommended.
It also asked the government to encourage alternative dispute redressal methods such as mediations, Lok Adalats and arbitration.