Union Law & Justice Minister Shri D.V. Sadanada Gowda addressed the media here in New Delhi and gave an account of the achievements/initiatives of ministry his ministry in last two years. Following is the detail of his narrations:
Initiatives towards Ease of Doing Business
To ensure speedy and fair disposal of commercial disputes, a new Act namely, the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act 2015 has been enacted by Parliament. It is Government’s endeavour to make India an investor friendly destination and enhance its ranking in Ease of Doing Business.
The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 has been amended to make Arbitration as preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes by making it more user-friendly, cost effective, leading to expeditious disposal of cases. This Bill was pending before the Government since 2003.
Initiatives towards better management of litigation
Draft National Litigation Policy is under formulation to make Government a responsible and efficient litigant. The Draft National Litigation Policy shall facilitate in bringing down unwarranted litigation.
For proper monitoring of the pending court cases of the entire Government of India, a web portal Legal Information and Management Based System (LIMBS) has been set up.
19 Law Officers (including AG/SG) and 34 ASGs in High Courts have been appointed. Fresh panels of Counsels were approved for Supreme Court/High Courts/Central Administrative Tribunals/Armed Forces Tribunal/District Courts/Armed Forces Tribunal.
Fee revision of Law Officers and Legal Counsels was upwardly revised to the extent of 50% from the rates existing prior to 1.10.2015.
Initiatives towards Minimum Government Maximum Governance
Four Acts have been enacted to repeal the obsolete and redundant laws. In total the aforesaid four enactments have repealed 1175 Acts. This exercise was taken up after 14 years, earlier being taken up only in the year 2001.
Major exercise for convergence of Tribunals to reduce the number of tribunals is being carried out. High level Inter-Ministerial Group has been constituted for consideration of the issue.
Initiatives towards digital India and e-Governance
A major change has been introduced to receive applications for appointment of Notaries online along with supporting documents w.e.f. 1.1.2016.
e-Governance and E-courts usage have started in Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) leading to faster disposal of cases with less hassles to litigants.
Digitisation work of Appeals has been undertaken in ITAT. Once the digitisation work is complete, all the appellate records shall be accessible from any station and any appeal can be taken by e-court in any location.
Web portal named LIMBS has been introduced for Centrally monitoring cases of UoI pending in various courts and Tribunals.
Initiatives towards Computerisation of Courts
Courts Mission Mode Project has been taken up for universal computerization of district and subordinate courts with an objective of providing designated services to litigants, lawyers and the judiciary.
During the first two years of NDA rule i.e. 2014-15 and 2015-16, Rs.212.23 cr were released to various States for eCourts projects against Rs.122.41cr released during UPA-II rule for the years 2012-13 and 2013-14, thus, registering an increase of 73.4%.
eCourts Phase-II projects aims at automation of workflow management, enabling the courts to exercise greater control in management of cases. This will also include installation of touch screen based kiosks, use of e-filing, e-payment and mobile applications and composite set of services through Judicial Service centres.
Case status information in respect of over 6.11 crore pending, decided cases and more than 2.4 crore orders/judgements pertaining to District and Subordinate Courts are available online.
Over 4000 court officials and 14000 Judicial Officers have been trained on computerization of Judiciary. Laptops have been provided to 14,309 judicial officers.
Initiatives towards Justice Delivery
Appointment of Judges in higher judiciary has been undertaken. 86 additional Judges were made permanent, 51 new judges were appointed and appointment of another 170 is being processed.
Judges’ sanctioned strength of the High Courts has been increased from 906 on 01.06.2014 to 1065 as on 27.4.2016. In the case of District/Subordinate Courts, the sanctioned strength has been increased from 17,715 at the end of 2012 to 20,502 in December, 2015.
Pecuniary jurisdiction of Delhi High Court has been increased from Rs. 20 lakhs to Rs. 2 crore, facilitating access to justice within the vicinity of the location of District Courts.
Department of Justice has been implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary. On account of concerted efforts by all stakeholders, the availability of judicial infrastructure for subordinate courts has increased considerably in the recent past.
Initiatives towards Access to Justice Projects
300 Paralegal Volunteers of Odisha, 400 Para Legal Volunteers of North Eastern States and 187 Para Legal Volunteers of J&K have been trained under the activities of State Legal Services Authorities.
Legal literacy has been incorporated into National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA) and activities have been started in States- 62 Districts of Uttar Pradesh and 31 Districts of Rajasthan.
Helpdesks for Juveniles in Observation Homes have been established in Maharashtra.
50 voice based Legal Information Kiosks have been established in the State of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
46 Legal Aid Clinics have been established in two most backward districts of Nagaland – Tuensang and Mon.
MoU has been signed between Department of Justice and NLMA (National Literacy Mission Authority) for initiating legal literacy activities by SRC Assam, Shillong, J&K and Arunachal Pradesh.
Other important initiatives
21st Law Commission of India has been reconstituted in September, 2015. Chairman/Member has been appointed.
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted to monitor and evaluate the implementation of legal services programmes and to lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the Act. A total number of 2,49,996 persons have been benefitted through Legal Services and advice from 1.04.2015 to 31.01.2016.
As on 30.09.2015, more than 15.14 lacs Lok Adalats have been organized in the country since inception. More than 8.25 crore cases including cases pending in the courts as well as those at the pre-litigation stage have been settled in these Lok Adalats. A total number of 746,29,721 cases have been settled in such National Lok Adalats since November, 2013 to 2015.
Promotion of Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism through National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) at the national level and State Legal Services Authorities at State level.
DoJ has taken up with all High Courts and Supreme Court for implementation of Incheon strategy to facilitate people with disability.
Proper training to Judicial Officers in international best practices w.r.t. alternate dispute resolution, quick and easy entity structuring, restructuring, incorporation, evolution and exit, tax reforms in the light of Make in India and Start-up India.
Process Re-engineering (PR) exercise taken up to modernize the existing processes and procedures and introduce new processes and procedures to expedite disposal of cases.
101 Legislative Bills were introduced in the Parliament. 75 Bills have been enacted into Acts and two constitutional Acts were enacted.