Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked chief justices of all high courts to consider giving credit points to judicial officers/judges in their performance appraisal for settling disputes through alternate dispute resolution mechanism.
There are over three crore pending cases in lower courts with a large number of them being related to property and matrimonial disputes, which takes years to settle.
In a letter written to all chief justices, the minister said that civil disputes particularly those relating to property and matrimonial matters take a long time for settlement through the normal court processes and alternate dispute resolution was an effective way to reduce pendency.
The alternate dispute resolution mechanism has become possible with insertion of a new section in civil procedure code that allows settling of cases through mediation centres.
The Supreme Court has also stressed for optimal utilisation of the mechanism to reduce pendency of cases.
To make the mechanism effective, the Centre has provided funds through the 13th finance commission to state governments for establishment of mediation and counseling centres at new court complexes across India.
“I understand that mediation centres are now being set up in all new court complexes at district and taluka level under the infrastructure development scheme,” the minister wrote.
The centres can be used to settle the cases and Prasad suggested that providing appraisal incentives to judges and judicial officers could be an effective way to make the mechanism effective.
The minister has also suggested that appropriate guidelines can be issued in this regard.