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 04-October -2012

SCHEME OF 'NATIONAL COURT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS' (NCMS) FOR ENHANCING TIMELY JUSTICE*

Backgrounder

Law & Justice     

 

 

India has one of the largest judicial systems in the world – with over 3 crore cases and sanctioned strength of some 18,871 Judges (as on 31.12.2011). The system has expanded rapidly in the last three decades, reflecting India’s social, economic and political development in this period. It is estimated that the number of Judges/Courts expanded six fold while the number of cases expanded by double that number – twelve fold. The judicial system is set to continue to expand significantly over the next three decades, rising, by the most conservative estimate, to at least about 15 crore of cases requiring at least some 75,000 Courts/Judges.

There is an urgent need to make the Judicial System ‘five plus free’ (i.e., free of cases more than five years old). There is an equally urgent need to shorten the average life cycle of all cases – not only time spent within each court, but also total time in the judicial system as a whole, to bring the average to no more than about one year in each court. There is also need to systematically maintain and continuously seek to enhance quality and responsiveness of justice.

To meet all these challenges facing the Judiciary effectively, the Chief Justice of India, after consulting the Minister of Law and Justice in the Government of India, established the National Court Management Systems (NCMS) in May this year and recently released a ‘Policy & Action Plan’ document to implement it. The National Court Management Systems will be under overall control of the Chief Justice of India. It will primarily deal with policy issues. NCMS will include the following six main elements:

(1) A National Framework of Court Excellence (NFCE) that will set measurable performance standards for Indian courts, addressing issues of quality, responsiveness and timeliness;

(2) A system for monitoring and enhancing the performance parameters established in the NFCE on quality, responsiveness and timeliness;

(3) A system of Case Management to enhance user friendliness of the Judicial System;

(4) A National System of Judicial Statistics (NSJS) to provide a common national platform for recording and maintaining judicial statistics from across the country. NSJS should provide real time statistics on cases and courts that will enable systematic analysis of key factors such as quality, timeliness and efficiency of the judicial system across courts, districts/states, types of cases, stages of cases, costs of adjudication, time lines of cases, productivity and efficiency of courts, use of budgets and financial resources. It would enhance transparency and accountability;

(5) A Court Development Planning System that will provide a framework for systematic five year plans for the future development of the Indian judiciary. The planning system will include individual court development plans for all the courts; and

(6) A Human Resource Development Strategy setting standards on selection and training of judges of subordinate courts.

The administrative and technological “backbone” of these systems will be maintained at the Supreme Court and overseen by a Committee consisting of the representatives.

Specific proposals will be developed in each of these areas for consideration and implementation by and through the High Courts.

National Court Management Systems Committee (N.C.M.S.C.):

Specific proposals for the Court Management System as outlined above will be developed by an 18 member National Court Management Systems Committee (N.C.M.S.C.), which, subject to directions of the Chief Justice of India, shall consist of the following:

Chair:

A Jurist/Domain Expert nominated by the Chief Justice of India. He will be paid honorarium and given such facilities as may be decided by the Chief Justice of India for Chairing N.C.M.S.C.

Accordingly, Prof. (Dr.) G. Mohan Gopal, former Director, National Judicial Academy, a Jurist, has been nominated by the CJI to be the Chairperson of National Court Management Systems Committee. Prof. Mohan Gopal will also be Member of the Advisory Committee.

Members:

1. Four Sitting Judges (one from each zone in India) nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

2. Secretary General of the Supreme Court (ex-officio).

3. Joint Secretary and Mission Director (National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms), Department of Justice, Government of India (ex-officio).

4. Registrar Generals of three High Courts nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

5. Director, National Judicial Academy.

6. Two practising Advocates nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

7. An expert Statistician, nominated by the Chief Statistician of India.

8. An expert in management of decision making systems and process re-engineering, nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

9. An expert in Computer Technology relevant to Court Management, nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

10. A representative of a NGO working for improving access to justice and user friendliness of courts, nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

11. Additional Registrar, Information and Statistics, Supreme Court of India (ex-officio) – Member Secretary.

Accordingly, the following were nominated by the CJI as Members of the NCMSC:

(a) Shi Justice D. Murugesan;

(b) Shri Justice A.M. Khanwilkar;

(c) Shri Justice Amitava Roy;

(d) Shri Justice B.D. Ahmed;

(e) Registrar General, High Court of Gujarat;

(f) Registrar General, Calcutta High Court; and

(g) Registrar General, High Court of Karnataka.

The Committee shall be supported by necessary staff and facilities.

· Advisory Committee:

The NCMS Committee is to be advised by an Advisory Committee consisting of two Judges of Supreme Court of India and such other Chief Justices/Judges of High Courts as may be nominated by the Chief Justice of India. The Chair of the NCMS Committee shall be a member of the Advisory Committee. Secretary, Department of Justice, Government of India, shall be Ex-officio Member of Advisory Committee and the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court shall be the convenor of the Advisory Committee.

Accordingly, the following were nominated to be the Members of the Advisory Committee:

(a) Shri Justice Altamas Kabir, currently the Chief Justice of India;

(b) Shri Justice P. Sathasivam, Judge, Supreme Court of India; and

(c) Shri Justice P. C. Tatia, Chief Justice, Jharkhand High Court.

All expenses in connection with the functioning of the NCMS, including salary and allowances, etc., of the Staff, will be met from the sanctioned Budget of the Supreme Court of India.

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* Based on the ‘NCMS Policy & Action Plan’ document released by the CJI on 27.9.2012

PIB Aizawl

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