What is National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms?
The National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms was set up in June, 2011 to achieve the twin goals of increasing access by reducing delays and arrears; and enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities. The Mission had become fully functional from 2012-13 and is pursuing strategic initiatives: outlining policy and legislative changes; and leveraging Information and Communication Technology & tools for better justice delivery.
What are the policy and legislative changes the Mission has undertaken?
The Mission has taken several steps in each of the strategic areas towards fulfillment of its objectives. Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill had been prepared. The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is now before the Rajya Sabha for consideration. Constitution amendment bill for raising the retirement age of High Court Judges is also before the Parliament.
A comprehensive proposal has been formulated for constitution of All India Judicial Service and the 25 States have formulated their Litigation Policies.
What are the changes proposed for Court Procedures and Court Processes?
An important aspect of the judicial reforms relates to reengineering court procedures and court processes for early disposal of cases. A National Court Management System has been recently notified by the Supreme Court for addressing the issues of case management, court management, setting measurable standards for performance of the courts and the National System of Judicial Statistics in the country. The National Mission would coordinate with NCMS and would render necessary assistance in achieving the goal of reducing pendency in courts.
What is the impact on Infrastructure Development?
Infrastructure development for the subordinate judiciary is a major thrust area of the National Mission. With a view to enhancing the resources of the State Governments, the Government has increased the central share by revising the funding pattern from 50:50 to 75:25 (for States other than North Eastern States) under modified Centrally Sponsored Scheme for development of infrastructure facilities for the judiciary from the year 2011-12 onwards. The funding pattern for North-Eastern States has been kept as 90:10 from 2010-11.
What is the Gram Nyayalayas Act 2008?
The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 has been enacted for establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the grass roots level for providing access to justice to citizens at their doorstep. The Central Government provides assistance to States for non-recurring expenses for setting up of Gram Nyayalayas and for meeting the cost of recurring expenses for running these Gram Nyayalayas for the first three years. At the time of enactment of Gram Nyayalayas Act it was envisaged that 5067 Gram Nyayalayas would be set up throughout the country for which Central Government would provide recurring and non-recurring assistance to States as per prescribed norms.
What is the Pendency Reduction Drive launched by the Government?
The Government had launched a pendency reduction drive from July 2011 to December, 2011. High Courts were requested by the Minister of Law and Justice to initiate a campaign mode approach towards clearing long pending cases and cases relating to marginalized sections of the society. As per feedback received from them, total pendency was reduced by over 6 lakh cases out of which about 1.36 lakh cases belonged to targeted groups such as senior citizens, disabled, minors and marginalized sections of society.
One of the important components of pendency reduction drive related to release of under-trial prisoners from jail. Around 3.16 lakh under-trial prisoners were released from the prisons during the campaign period.
A similar drive has been launched this year as well from July, 2012 to December, 2012.