Pune, 17th March 2021: At which stages cases are pending in Civil Litigation lesser is known to us by causes for delay and time required for it. It was thought within and outside the judicial system, that there should be a thorough study that can pinpoint the exact reasons for the delay.
By looking at mounting pendency, the answer for the thought was it is not possible to identify every single cause for delay in disposal of cases at the trial court. This challenge was taken up by the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE) with the Maharashtra Judicial Academy (MJA). Anatomy of Judicial Pendency (Civil Litigation) Report was submitted to the Ministry of Law and Justice in the year 2018 by GIPE and MJA. However, the recommendation suggested in this report is still waiting for implementation. By acknowledging the recommendations in the report pendency could have reduced significantly.
The study was conducted in Pune, Baramati and Junnar courts and a total of 2328 of nine case types were studied through roznama. Analyses of the different stages in the case proceeding have been made and results were drawn by reasons for the delay and the time consumed per reason. More than 100 judges were personally interviewed in Pune and Nagpur for their valuable suggestions on reducing the delay by reason and problems faced by them in their day to day working. Over 300 judges responded to the questionnaire circulated by MJA from 36 districts of Maharashtra and this data was analysed by GIPE as a whole. It was observed that 46% of cases were disposed of by Dismissed for Default, 33% by Judgment and 21% cases were Withdrawn, Compromised, or Disposed of Otherwise.
From the total pending cases, approximately 38% of suits were of Regular Civil Suits (RCS), and it is increasing year by year. 57.50% of RCS suits were Dismissed for Default and were never restored. These suits consumed disposal time of 11 yrs. and 5 months as compared to suits disposed of by Judgment that took 4yrs. and 4 months which is alarming! Regular Civil Appeal is taking 5yrs. and 7 months for disposal.
The top ten reasons for delay and time consumed for them by case type-wise were sorted and this can be viewed on page no. 86 of the said report. The report is available on the website of the Ministry of Law and Judiciary. Link to the report:
As per the report it was perceived that awaiting the report of notice, hearing of any application, parties to take steps, absentee of both viz. advocate and litigants, absentee of either advocate or litigant, filing of a written statement, recording evidence, framing of issues, court time over/busy, final argument and depositing paper book charges in Civil Appeal are some of the main reasons in studied cases and consume upto 30 to 40 % of the total time. And if time consumed by the quasi-judicial process is added to it the proportion rises to about 70 % of the total time.
The addition of Judges will not resolve the problem of pendency but the judiciary has to work on the reasons for the delay. Many solutions including amendments in the Civil Procedure Code have been proposed. It also suggests the introduction of pre-trial courts, administrative policies, stage-wise evaluation of pendency of each court with help of court managers, periodical training to court staff and lawyers, maximum use of electronic media for service of notices and display summons on CIS, user-friendly software with timely upgradations, standardization of roznama, informal reconciliation centres etc. will not only solve the problem but will also have control over mounting pendency.