The National Mission for Justice Delivery and legal
Reforms was set up in June, 2011 to achieve the twin
goals of increasing access by reducing delays and
arrears; and enhancing accountability through
structural changes and by setting performance
standards and capacities. The Mission has become
fully functional from 2012-13 and is pursuing
strategic initiatives: outlining policy and
legislative changes; re-engineering of procedures
and court processes; focussing on Human Resource
Development; and leveraging Information and
Communication Technology & tools for better justice
delivery. The Mission will adopt a coordinated
approach for phased liquidation of arrears and
pendency in judicial administration which would,
inter alia, involve better infrastructure for courts
including computerisation, increase in strength of
subordinate judiciary, policy and legislative
measures in the areas prone to excessive litigation,
re-engineering of court procedure for quick disposal
Policy and Legislative Changes
In short span of its existence, the Mission
has taken several steps in each of the strategic
areas towards fulfillment of its objectives.
Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill has been
The Bill has already been passed by the Lok
Sabha and is now before the Rajya Sabha for
Constitution amendment bill for raising the
retirement age of High Court Judges is also before
A comprehensive proposal has been formulated for
constitution of All India Judicial Service and the
proposal is before Committee of Secretaries. 25
States have formulated their Litigation Policies
with a view to reduce the Governmental litigation.
Litigation Policy at the national level is
also on the anvil.
An Inter-Ministerial Group has been constituted to
suggest necessary amendments to the Negotiable
Instruments Act along with other policy and
administrative measures to check increasing
litigation relating to cheque bounce cases. First
meeting of IMG was held on 30th, May 2012
and decisions taken in the meeting are being pursued
for follow up action with Department of Financial
Services, Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks
Association for reducing the burden of cheque
bouncing cases on our criminal justice system.
Re-Engineering Court Procedures and Court Processes
An important aspect of the judicial reforms
relates to re-engineering court procedures and court
processes for early disposal of cases.
A National Court Management System has been
recently notified by the Supreme Court for
addressing the issues of case management, court
management, setting measurable standards for
performance of the courts and the National System of
Judicial Statistics in the country. The National
Mission would coordinate with NCMS and would render
necessary assistance in achieving the goal of
reducing pendency in courts.
A Sub Group on improving the court procedure
and court processes for better criminal justice
system has been constituted under Chairman, Law
Commission to suggest necessary changes in this
regard. The Commission has already prepared a Report
on inordinate delays in investigation and
prosecution of criminal cases against influential
persons and measures needed to reform the criminal
Infrastructure development for the subordinate
judiciary is a major thrust area of the National
With a view to enhancing the resources of the
State Governments, the Government has increased the
central share by revising the funding pattern from
50:50 to 75:25 (for States other than North Eastern
States) under modified Centrally Sponsored Scheme
for development of infrastructure facilities for the
judiciary from the year 2011-12 onwards.
The funding pattern for North-Eastern States
has been kept as 90:10 from 2010-11.
Central assistance amounting to over ` two
thousand crore has been released to States and Union
Territories since inception of the scheme out of
which an amount of over ` two hundred crore has been
released so far during current financial year.
The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 has been enacted for
establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the grass roots
level for providing access to justice to citizens at
their doorstep.The Central Government provides
assistance to States for non-recurring expenses for
setting up of Gram Nyayalayas and for meeting the
cost of recurring expenses for running these Gram
Nyayalayas for the first three years.
At the time of enactment of Gram Nyayalayas
Act it was envisaged that 5067 Gram Nyayalayas would
be set up throughout the country for which Central
Government would provide recurring and non-recurring
assistance to States as per prescribed norms.
The progress of the Gram Nyayalayas Scheme has not
been up to expectations so far.
To further incentivize the State Governments
for early operationalisation of Gram Nyayalayas, a
comprehensive proposal for merger of Gram Nyayalayas
scheme with the Centrally sponsored Scheme for
development of infrastructure facilities for the
subordinate judiciary has been prepared.
The norms for providing central assistance
towards recurring expenditure are also proposed to
be revised upwards. The proposal is presently
awaiting approval of Planning Commission and
Ministry of Finance.
Pendency Reduction Drive
The Government had launched a pendency
reduction drive from July 2011 to December, 2011.
Chief Justices of the High Courts were
requested by the Minister of Law and Justice to
initiate a campaign mode approach towards clearing
long pending cases and cases relating to
marginalized sections of the society.
As per feedback received from various High
Courts, total pendency was reduced by over 6 lakh
cases out of which about 1.36 lakh cases belonged to
targeted groups such as senior citizens, disabled,
minors and marginalized sections of society.
One of the important components of pendency
reduction drive related to release of under-trial
prisoners from jail. In terms of the extant
provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, the
under-trials who have completed half of the maximum
specified punishment for various offences in jail
need to be released on personal bond.
As per the information received from various
High Courts, around 3.16 lakh under-trial prisoners
were released from the prisons during the campaign
A similar drive has been launched by the Minister of
Law and Justice this year as well from July, 2012 to
December, 2012. The main focus of pendency reduction
drive this year is to make our judicial system ‘five
plus’ free. Simultaneously emphasis is being laid on
increasing the number of judges in subordinate
judiciary by filling the existing vacancies and
creating additional posts so that disposal of cases
is expedited by setting up of additional courts.
*Inputs from the Department of Justice, Ministry of
Law and Justice.