Costs to be imposed for seeking unnecessary adjournments
Lists of corruption, crime against women cases to be prepared
Jammu, Dec 6:
To achieve the target of zero five year plus cases and to streamline the disposal of the old cases, Chief Justice of High Court of J&K and Ladakh Justice N Kotiswar Singh has approved an Action Plan for the district judiciary in both the Union Territories for the year 2023-2024, which will remain applicable till September 30, 2024.
Moreover, the Judicial Officers have been told to prepare list of all the cases pending over 10 years, pending between 5-10 years, cases falling under the Prevention of Corruption Act, under-trial cases, bail matters, cases pertaining to crime against women, children, differently abled persons, senior citizens and marginalized sections of the society and make assessment with regard to the progress of disposal every month and accordingly devise strategies to eliminate the hurdles, if any.
Further, the Chief Justice has directed that the Judicial Officers shall not grant frequent, unnecessary and unreasonable adjournments to the litigating parties or any of them and if adjournment is granted, the Judicial Officer may impose costs on the party seeking adjournment. However, the court shall ensure that the parties are accorded a reasonable opportunity to produce evidence and present their cases.
Likewise, the Judicial Officers have been cautioned against proceeding routinely in the cases in which the High Court or the Appellate Court has stayed the proceedings and shall not give long dates in those cases but they shall check the status of those cases online on every date. They shall themselves record the proceedings in the target cases.
It has been made clear by the Chief Justice that the disposal of target cases will be taken into consideration at the time of recording the Annual Confidential Reports of the Judicial Officers and the District & Sessions Judges may consider the disposal of the target cases while writing remarks on self-appraisal reports of the Judicial Officers.
As per the Action Plan, the Principal District & Sessions Judges/ Additional District and Sessions Judges will decide and dispose of during the target year all the cases of under-trial prisoners (UTPs) where the UTP is in custody for a period of more than five years from the date of arrest and all criminal cases (irrespective of involvement of UTPs) where the charge sheet has been filed on or before 01/03/2018.
Similarly, they have been asked to decide and dispose all criminal appeals (except appeals filed under the PWDV Act) which are pending disposal for more than three years; all appeals filed under the PWDV Act which are pending disposal for more than nine months; all criminal revision petitions except criminal revision petitions challenging order passed under 125 CrPC which are pending disposal for more than one year; all revision petitions filed against orders passed under Section 125 CrPC which are pending disposal for more than nine months; all the civil original suits which are pending disposal for more than five years; all the other civil matters including guardianship petitions which have been instituted on or before 01/03/2020 and all the executions petitions which are pending disposal for more than three years.
About the Special Courts, the Action Plan states that the Special Courts constituted under the Prevention of Corruption Act shall decide and dispose of during the target year 15 oldest cases in addition to normal standards. Similarly, Special Courts for CBI cases shall decide and dispose of 10 oldest cases in addition to normal standards and the Special Courts constituted under the POCSO Act shall fast track the cases registered under the Act and decide and dispose of all the cases instituted before March 2023 and shall ensure to complete the trial in all other cases instituted thereafter as far as possible within six months from the date of filing of the charge-sheet.
The Special Court constituted for trial of offences against women shall decide and dispose of all the cases of under-trial prisoners (UTPs) where the UTP is in custody for more than two years from the date of arrest and all the cases which are pending disposal for more than five years. Likewise, the Special Court constituted under the NIA shall decide and dispose of 20 oldest cases in addition to the normal standards.
The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal has been directed to decide and dispose of all the claim petitions under Motor Vehicle Act involving death which are more than three years old and all the claim petitions under MV Act involving injury which are more than two years old. Likewise, the court set up for adjudication of matrimonial disputes shall decide and dispose of all the cases which are pending disposal for more than one year in addition to normal standards and the Family Court shall dispose of 150 oldest cases and 50 oldest execution petitions in addition to normal standards.
The Judicial Officers will ensure that other cases are not neglected while making extra effort towards the disposal of target cases and the Principal District & Sessions Judges will submit the court-wise figures of disposal of the target cases identified under the Action Plan to the High Court on monthly basis on or before the 10th day of every month for placing the same before the Administrative Judge of the concerned district.(By Daily Excelsior )