The Task Force constituted by Government to study the feasibility of Judicial Impact Assessment in India under chairmanship of Shri Justice M. Jagannadaha Rao has submitted its report to the Minister of Law and Justice, Shri H. R. Bharadwaj today. The summary of the report is as follows:
Judicial Impact Assessments must be made on a scientific basis for the purpose of estimating the extra case-load which any new Bill or Legislation may add to the burden of the Courts and the expenditure required for adjudication of such cases must be estimated by the Government and adequate budgetary provision must be made therefore.
Such impact assessments must be made in respect of Bills that are introduced in Parliament as well as Bills introduced in the State legislatures.
The Government of India, in view of Entry-11A of the Concurrent List and Art.247 of Constitution of India and the general scheme of the Constitution, must have such assessments made and make necessary financial provision, at the stage of the Bills, for implementation of Central laws in respect of subjects in the Union List or the Concurrent List (of the VII Schedule of the Constitution of India), in the Courts. The State Governments should not be made to bear the financial burden of implementing Central laws passed under the Union List or Concurrent List, through the Courts established by the State Governments.
The State Governments must likewise make adequate financial provision for meeting the expenditure of the Courts, at the stage of the Bills, for the implementation of the Laws to be made by the State Legislature with respect to subjects in the State List and Concurrent List.
Central Government must establish additional courts under Art. 247 of the Constitution of India for implementation of Central laws made in respect of subjects in the Union List or in respect of pre-constitutional laws referable to subjects enumerated in the Union List. In addition, the Central Government must establish additional Courts at its expense for implementation of Laws made by the Parliament in the Concurrent List in view of Entry-11A of the Concurrent List.
The expenditure on the courts in respect of fresh cases that may be added to the “Supreme Court” and the “High Courts” by new laws must be reflected in the Financial Memoranda attached to the Central Bills under Clause (3) of Art. 117 or attached to the State Bills under Clause (3) of Art. 207 of the Constitution of India, as required by the respective Rules of Business.
The expenditure in respect of fresh cases that may be added to the “Subordinate Courts” must be provided and met by the respective Central or State Ministries which sponsor the Bills in Parliament or in the State Legislatures, as the case may be.
The High Courts must take the assistance of experts in planning, budget and finance for the purpose of preparing their budgetary demands for the High Courts as well as the Subordinate courts.
The Central Government may also consider the various recommendations made by the Commission for Review of the Constitution, such as the constitution of Judicial Councils, preparation of budgets and appropriation of the funds for the courts.
The Planning Commission and the Finance Commission must, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, allocate sufficient funds for the Judicial Administration in the Country, particularly in regard to the infrastructure, expenditure on judicial officers and staff in the Subordinate Courts and the High Courts to realize the basic human rights of ‘Access to Justice’ and ‘Speedy Justice’.
There must be constituted a Judicial Impact Office at Delhi to deal with the assessment of the probable number of cases and computing probable extra expenditure on courts in respect of the implementation of Central Bills/ Legislation on subjects in the Union List and the Concurrent List.
There must be Judicial Impact Offices constituted at the level of the States located at the State capitals for assessment of the probable number of cases and computing the probable extra expenditure on the Courts in respect of implementation of the Laws made by the State Legislature in respect of subjects in the State List and the Concurrent List. Where the High Courts are not located at the State Capitals, the Judicial Impact Offices must be located at the place of the seat of the High Court. In respect of Union Territories which have a separate legislature, the Impact Offices must be located at the place of the seat of the Legislature.
The Judicial Impact Office at Delhi to be established for purposes of Parliamentary Legislation must be under the purview of the Department of Justice, headed by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the Chief Justice of India and the Members of the Governing Body must include the Secretaries to the Government of India in-charge of the Department of Justice, the Law and Finance, on the model of the set up in respect of the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.
The Judicial Impact Offices at the level of the States/Union Territories must be within the purview of the State Governments but must be headed by Chief Justice of the High Court concerned and the Governing Bodies must likewise include the Secretaries to the respective State Governments, who deal with Justice, Law and Order, Courts, Finance etc. So far as the general administration of the Judicial Impact Offices at Delhi and in the States / Union Territories is concerned, we are of the view that they must be under the administrative control of a senior officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India, so far as the Impact Office at Delhi is concerned and again by a senior officer of the rank of Secretary in the State Governments / Union Territories so far as they are concerned. This is again on the pattern of the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.
The Judicial Impact Offices must have permanent staff of experts in Law (both theory and practice), judicial administration, economics, social sciences and statistics, who could efficiently deal with collection of data from the courts, lawyers, Judges and other Departments of Government (like Police and Social Welfare) and who could suggest methodologies for projection of the caseloads and convert the same into number of Judge-hours and estimate the expenditure for the extra Judges, staff and infrastructure.
The Judicial Impact Offices must also be empowered to consult outside experts in economics, social sciences, statistics etc., and seek the help of reputed NGOs, who have experience in data collection and projecting caseloads.
The Judicial Impact Offices must have other supporting staff and infrastructure for the purpose of effectively discharging their duties.
The expenditure for establishing the Judicial Impact Office for Parliamentary legislation at Delhi must be borne by the Central Government and the expenditure for establishing these offices at the level of the States/Union Territories must be borne by the State Government/Union Territory concerned.
The Judicial Impact Offices must not only estimate, at the stage of the Bills, the probable number of cases that may freshly be added to the Courts but must also look into the factual position after the enactment of the laws and find out whether their earlier estimates were exaggerated or were under – estimated, and take corrective measures from time to time.
A special cadre of Manager (Court Information Technology) may be created, one for each District, to be part of the Principal District and Sessions Court so that that Officer could exclusively be in charge of the data collection from all the sources mentioned above and also see that the lawyers/litigants fill up the prescribed pro-forma that may require various types of information to be furnished in respect of each case, at the stage the case is filed into court.
While estimating the number of cases that may be added to the court dockets, the Judicial Impact Offices must not only take into account the cases filed in the trial courts, but also those filed in the appellate courts, the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India by way of appeals, revisions or original petitions or by what ever nomenclature they are described.
The Chief Justices of the respective High Courts or where need be, the Committees of the High Court or the Full Court must pass necessary orders/resolutions to enable the Judicial Impact Offices to obtain the necessary data from the courts and judicial officers. Likewise, the Secretaries of the concerned Department of the Union or State Government or the heads of any other body or institution or entity must issue directions to enable the Judicial Impact Offices to obtain necessary data from Government Departments or the bodies or institutions or entities. Likewise, members of the public, lawyers and litigants, academicians, faculty members, law students, NGOs and all others must cooperate to furnish the necessary data to the Judicial Impact Offices and offer their suggestions.
The Judicial Impact Office at Delhi and the Offices at the State/ Union Territory levels must exchange their views and interact, share experiences and develop various methodologies that may be required for projection of cases and publish them.
All the Judicial Impact Offices may conduct workshops, seminars and conferences at least once in a year to share common experiences, obtain guidance from experts in economics, social sciences, statistics and law and publish the gist of the deliberations.
After successfully establishing Judicial Impact Offices as stated above at various levels for a few years, it may be considered at a later stage whether these offices could be converted into societies under the Societies Registration Act but still continue to be under the Government Departments as stated above. At a much later stage, the question may be considered whether there should be Central legislation under Entry-11A of the Concurrent List in respect of the Judicial Impact Offices at the Central level and at the level of the States/ Union Territories.