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The RTI application is to be addressed as follows:
The Public Information Officer (PIO),
Building Proposal Department,
XX Ward (replace XX with the ward applicable to your locality),
Address of the XX Ward.
You can either visit the ward and submit it to its Dispatch Section and take an acknowledgment on the photocopy of your RTI application, or
You can mail it by Speed Post, track its delivery on Indiapost website on internet and when it shows delivered take a print out of the track report and preserve it as a proof of delivery of your RTI application.
In Maharashtra, the best way to pay RTI application fees is to paste a Rs. 10/- court fee stamp on the RTI application itself. You will get court fee stamp from any of the Courts, or vendors (photocopy / xerox shops) near a Municipality or other such Govt. offices. As the court fee stamps are valid forever, you may consider buying extra (say worth Rs. 100/- or more), as you will require them for filing RTI First Appeal and Second Appeals.
Please refer to the following links:
- Municipal Wards of Mumbai.
- Maharashtra RTI Forms.
In the RTI application, under the heading "Description of Information Required" you may seek information as follows:Quote
1. With reference to the said Society, please provide me with the certified photocopies of the documents / plans of the following:
- Commencement Certificate.
- Commencement Plans & Layouts.
- Completion Certificate.
- Completion Plans & Layouts.
- Occupation Certificate.
- All other approved plans and layouts.
2. In accordance with section 2(j)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005, please first provide me with an inspection of all the above mentioned documents pertaining to the said society available with the MCGM.
3. Please note that, during the process of this inspection, I shall select the required information, kindly do provide me with a certified photocopy of such selected information on payment of prescribed fees.
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Haryana Govt has amended RTI rules from 18-03-2016 and revised rules are as under:
HARYANA RIGHT TO INFORMATION RULES 2009 AMEDNDED 2016
[2005 rules replaced by 2009 on 21-12-2009 effective from 01-01-2010]
[Again amended on 18-03-2016 –filing fee reduced to Rs.10/-, CD Rs.50 and inspection first hour free and thereafter Rs.5/- per hour or part thereof beyond first hour]
The rules provide for a format for application under RTI Act called Form-A, which is annexed herewith.
A. Application fee: Rs.10/- to be paid by bank’s demand draft or pay order or Indian Postal Order [iPO] or in cash against receipt or through treasury challan. Applicants holding BPL certificate need not pay any application fee.
Payment by IPO should be preferred being cheap and convenient. IPO should be in favour of “Accounts Officer, [mention name of public authority i.e. govt dept/organization etc]” and should be made payable at the place where application is sent.
B. Other charges: Information in A-3 or A-4 size paper….Rs.2/- per page, Large size: actual cost, publications: actual cost. CD Rs.50/- per CD. Inspection: Free for first hour and if exceeds one hour Rs.5/- for each hour or part thereof beyond first hour.
Rules do not provide for formats for first appeal, second appeal/complaint. No fees are charged for appeals.
Suggested formats for appeals/complaint are annexed hereunder.
4. Address of State Information Commission, Haryana:
State Information Commission, Haryana,
SCO No. 70-71, Sector 8-C, Chandigarh.
Telephone No. 0172-2726568, Fax No. 0172-2783834
5. HARYANA State Format for RTI Application:
The Right to Information Act, 2005
Form A [see rule 3 (1)]
The State Public Information Officer/
State Assistant Public Information Officer,
(Name of the office with address)
1. Full name of the applicant:
3. Particulars of information required:-
(i) Subject matter of information*
(ii) The period to which the information relates**
(iii) Description of the information required***
(iv) Whether information is required by post or in person
(the actual postal charges shall be included in addition to the fees.)
(v) In case by post (Ordinary, Registered or Speed)
4. IPO No. ____________for Rs.10/- is enclosed.
Signature of the Applicant
* Broad category of the subject to be indicated (such as Grant/Government land/ Service matters/Licenses etc.)
** Relevant period for which information is required to be indicated.
*** Specific details of the information are required to be indicated.
Received your application dated _______________ ,-- vide Diary No.______________ dated _____________ .
State Public Information Officer/ State Assistant Public Information Officer, Name of the Department/Office
6. HARYANA State Format for First Appeal:
The Right to Information Act, 2005
The Appellate Authority By regd AD post
As I have not received any decision/As I am aggrieved by the decision of the Public Information Officer…………, I hereby file this appeal. The particulars of my application are as under:
Name of the appellant :
Address of appellant :
(A) Designation of the State Public Information Officer :
Address of State Public Information Officer:
(B) Department/office and address :
© Particulars of the decision against which the
appeal is preferred including the No. &
Date of such decision.
Date of application submitted in the Form A :
Details of Information sought: as per enclosed form A
6. Reasons for Appeal:
7. Brief facts of the case.
8. Prayer/relief’s sought for :
A] The information sought be ordered to be supplied immediately by registered post at my address.
B] The information be now supplied to me free of cost.
C] CPIO be advised to permit inspection of record, as requested by me. [if applicable]
D] I should be fully compensated for not supplying information in prescribed time limit.
E] Disciplinary action be initiated for not complying with the law against erring officers.
9. Enclosures: Self attested copies of RTI application, reply of SPIO [if received], postal proof of mailing RTI application.
I hereby state that the information and particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and brief.
Place Signature of Appellant
7. HARYANA State suggested format for second appeal/complaint:
TO STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION, HARYANA
Date: By speed post AD
State Chief Information Commissioner,
State Information Commission, Haryana,
SCO No. 70-71, Sector 8-C, Chandigarh.
As I have not received any decision/As I am aggrieved by the decision of the PIO & First Appellate Authority, I here by file this second appeal/complaint for your kind consideration. The particulars are as under:
[1) Full name of the Applicant :
 Address of Applicant with
phone No. and email ID if any :
(3) Name and address of StatePublic Information Officer:
No. and date of reply if received:
(4) Name and address of the First Appellate Authority:
No. and date of reply if received:
 Date of receipt of order of first appellate authority :
(6) Particulars of information sought- as per enclosed RTI application
(7) Brief facts and grounds for appeal:
A] The information sought be ordered to be supplied immediately by registered post at my address.
B] The information be now supplied to me free of cost.
C] CPIO be advised to permit inspection of record, as requested by me. [if applicable]
D] Penalty as per RTI Act be imposed on PIO.
E] I should be fully compensated for not supplying information in prescribed time limit and breach of my right.
F] Disciplinary action be ordered to be initiated for not complying with the law against PIO & FAA
G] Public Authority be ordered to reimburse traveling and lodging-boarding expenses incurred by me for attending hearing.
H] Hon’ble Commission may order making an entry in service book/annual appraisal report of the concerned PIO & FAA for defying act of the parliament.
I] The hon’ble Commission be pleased to pass such other orders as deemed fit in the interest of justice and spirit of RTI.
(9) Enclosures: Self attested photo copies of the following documents :
A. Application in form A dated________ with its enclosures if any,
B. Reply dated ________of PIO if received, C. First Appeal dated ________D. Reply dated_______ to first appeal, if received, E. Postal proof of posting of Form A and first appeal.
. Verification: I the undersigned hereby state that the information and particulars given here-in-above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Place : Signature of Appellant/Complainant
[To be submitted in three copies to the Commission]
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- Name of the appellant :
Often advice is sought about seeking information from Panchayat or Municipality Budget Grants, Development Works including funds used from Central and State sponsored employment guarantee schemes, MP/MLA LAD funds etc. Help and advice is also sought about seeking information to ascertain whether Municipality / Panchayat authorities are utilising funds as planned or contracts awarded are executed as per schedule. In such cases, it is necessary to seek details of budget grant and the expenditure on development works form such authorities.
Please file RTI Application with the PIO of Municipality or Panchayat and seek following information -
For Budget grant :
 certified copy of the Head-wise budget grant sanctioned for the financial year 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 (From 1st April .... to 31st Mar..... of last three years)
 Certified copy of the statement showing revenue received by the Panchyat by way of cess and taxes, and other revenue receipts / collection during the financial year 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 (From 1st April .... to 31st Mar..... of last three years)
 Certified copy of the statement showing Funds received from Central or State sponsored schemes like MGNREGA or MP/MLA Local Area Development Fund by the Panchyat during the financial year 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 (or From 1st April .... to 31st Mar..... of last three years)
For Work Expenses.
 certified copy of Letter of Acceptance of all works awarded from 1/4/20.... and 31/3/20..... (last 2 years)
(LoA shall contain exact description of work awarded on contract, name and address of contractor to whom the work awarded, accepted contract value, date of commencement, target date of completion.)
 certified copy of latest paid On-account bill (OR running bill) in respect of all on-going works.
(On-Account Bill/Running Bill shall contain details payments made in the past)
 certified copy of Final Bills of all contracts completed from 1/4/20.... and 31/3/20..... (last 2 years)
(Final bill will show all details of amount paid, recoveries due and made, escalation in rates or contract value allowed, final Completion Cost etc.)
(4) Details of Service Tax deducted form each of the contractor and remitted to Central Excise and Customs Department during the period 1/4/20.... and 31/3/20..... (last 2 years)
(The amount of Service Tax can be used to assess the correctness of payments released to the contractor).
(If you still have doubt about the quantum of physical work executed vis-a-vis the quantum of work awarded on contract in respect of any specific work, you can seek: )
 certified copy of the 'Schedule of Work' in respect of Letter of acceptance No. ................. dated ................
(Schedule of work shall show quantity of each item included in a contract. With the schedule of work in hand, you can cross-verify physical quantum and assess discrepancy if any.)
(You can cut-paste these items in your RTI Application format after deleting bold bracketed portion. Modify wherever necessary - period of information / municipality or panchayat etc)
Application Format (if any) and Fee shall be as per RTI Rules of your state, which can be viewed in this link: CENTRAL / STATE RTI RULES - GUIDE
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NOTE: From an email received from Advocate Mr Sundeep Jalan
The literal interpretation of section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005
The Guide to explore the Article
2.Coming to the interpretation
3.An uncaring and delightful misreading of the Girish Ramchandra Deshpande judgment of the Apex court
4.The law of Precedents
5.What constitute (a) Public Interest (b) Privacy © disclosure of info on the ground of furnishing of info to the Parliament / State Legislature
6.How and in what manner the Application under RTI be attended with by the concerned PIO and the mandate of section 11
The RTI Act, codifies the citizens’ fundamental right to information. It was enacted with the spirit of ensuring transparency in the administration of the nation.
Section 3 mandates that “Subject to the provisions of this Act, all citizens shall have the right to information”.
Section 7 (1) emphatically voices that the Public Information officer (PIO) must either supply the information, or refuse it on the basis of grounds for exemptions contained in Sections 8 or 9.
According to the RTI Act, information may be refused from disclosure, in accordance with the provisions contained in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act only, and no other provision of the RTI Act can be invoked, to deny to the access to the information, by a public authority, except the information which have been further exempted from disclosur, as per Section 24 of the RTI Act; and section 22 of the Act expressly declares that the Provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in official secrets Act or any other Act. The said declaration assumes greatest significance, for, the disclosure or non disclosure of the information requested would now be tested, only, at the touchstone of the exceptions spelled out in section 8 and 9 of the Act.
The Preamble and the Statement of objects of the RTI Act, 2005, gives a vital clue that the said Act was enacted with the spirit of ensuring transparency in the administration of the nation; and therefore before embarking upon the literal interpretation of section 8(1)(j) of the said Act, it is necessary to look into the specific words employed in the preamble of the Act. The Preamble and the Statements of objects and Reasons runs as follows –
An Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto
Whereas the Constitution of India has established democratic Republic;
And whereas democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed;
And whereas revelation of information in actual practice is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information;
And whereas it is necessary to harmonise these conflicting interests while preserving the paramountcy of the democratic ideal;
Now, therefore, it is expedient to provide for furnishing certain information to citizens who desire to have it.
Be it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows:
Coming to the interpretation
SECTION 8: Exemption from disclosure of information: (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,(j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information :
Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.
The literal interpretation of the mandate of sections 8(1)(j) and 8(2) –
To qualify for the exemption from disclosure, two ingredients should exist, and under two circumstances, the information requested may be denied –
(a) Where the Information requested is (a) a personal information; and (b) the Nature of info requested has apparently no relationship to any public activity or interest;
(b) Where the Info requested is (a) personal information; and (b) the disclosure of information would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual concerned.
However, information requested may be disclosed in the following seven circumstances –
a)Where the Information requested is although a personal information, but it has related to a public activity;
b)Where the Information requested is although a personal information, but it has relationship to a public interest;
c)Where the Information requested is although a personal information, but the disclosure of info may not cause unwarranted invasion to the privacy of the concerned individual;
d)Where the Info requested is although a personal information; and Nature of info requested has apparently no relationship to any public activity or public interest; but where the LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST justifies the disclosure of such information;
e)Where the Info requested is although a personal information; and the disclosure of info may cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the concerned individual, but where the LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST justifies the disclosure of such information;
f)Where the Info requested is although a personal information; and the nature of info requested has apparently no relationship to any public activity or interest; and the Info requested is a personal information; and the disclosure of info may cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual; and where there is apparently no LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST in the disclosure of the Info, YET, where the information requested, can be furnished to the Parliament or to a State Legislature, on their asking [Proviso to S.8(1)], the same can be furnished to the citizen;
g)Where the Info requested is although a personal information; and the nature of info requested has apparently no relationship to any public activity or interest; and the Info requested is a personal information; and the disclosure of info may cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual; and where there is apparently no LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST in the disclosure of the Info; YET, the Info may be disclosed where the disclosure of information in the public interest outweighs the harm claimed by the third party or by any other individual claiming prejudice by reason of such disclosure [s.8(2)];
An uncaring and delightful misreading of the Girish Ramchandra Deshpande judgment of the Apex court
After the passing of the judgment (03.10.2012) by Apex court in the case of Girish Ramchandra Deshpande, every PIO is denying the information requested, of the Service records, Assets and Liabilities / Income Tax Returns of a Public Servant / Ministers / MPs, whilst invoking the said ruling of the Apex Court [(2013) 1 SCC 212].
The PIOs are entertaining the belief that the Apex Court, in their Ruling in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande, have put complete embargo on the disclosure of the Income Tax Returns of public servants. This is completely misreading of the said ruling.
From the perusal of Para 1 of the said judgment, it would reveal that the Hon’ble Court have not posed any question of law to itself. Therefore, as such the Hon’ble Court had no intention to interpret the mandate of section 8(1)(j);
From the perusal of Para 10, it would reveal that proviso to section 8(1)(j) is not stated therein. Therefore, it can safely be argued that the said judgment was passed in ignorance of the said proviso.
In Para 12 of the said judgment, the Hon’ble Court have inter alia, stated that –
- §the info requested is a personal information;
- §the performance of an employee/officer is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer, which are governed by the service rules,
- §which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest;
- §the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual.
- §The Court have expressly observed to say that, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer of the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.
In the said ruling, the Apex Court have held that “Income Tax returns are a personal information”; and thereafter, the Apex Court refused to direct the disclosure of information, on the premise of the factual matrix of the said case, that is to say, the Hon’ble Apex court refused on the premise of (a) the absence of element of public activity and public interest having regard to the nature of information sought; (b) unwarranted breach of privacy of the individual concerned having regard to the nature of information sought; © the Petitioner therein has not succeeded in establishing that the information sought for, is for the larger public interest.
I say that it is of fundamental importance to understand that every request for information is a peculiar case in itself; and the expression “Public interest” is not capable of precise definition, and no hard and fast rules can be laid down as what constitutes Public interest. Its ascertainment would always depend on the nature of information requested and facts and circumstances of each case.
In the said case, the Apex Court have not laid down any law in respect of purport and ambit of section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005, and therefore, the said ruling has no precedent value as such; and the said ruling is confined to the facts of the said case and therefore has no precedent value as such.
The law of Precedents
i)I now crave leave to state some of the law of precedents, which has immediate bearing on the instant case.
Article 141. Law declared by Supreme Court to be binding on all courts.— The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India.
a)Broadly speaking, every judgment of superior courts has three segments, namely, (i) the facts and the point at issue; (ii) the reasons for the decision; and (iii) the final order containing the decision. It is the ratio decidendi of a judgment and not the final order in the judgment, which forms a precedent.
b)What is binding is the ratio of the decision and not any finding of facts. It is the principle found out upon a reading of a judgment as a whole, in the light of the questions before the Court that forms the ratio and not any particular word or sentence... A judgment of the Court has to be read in the context of questions which arose for consideration in the case in which the judgment was delivered.
c)It is not everything said by a judge while giving judgment, constitutes a precedent. The enunciation of the reason or principle on which a question before the court has been decided, is alone binding as a precedent.
d)A judgment should be understood in the light of the facts of that case, and no more should be read into it than what it actually says.
e)Every judgment to qualify to be a precedent should invariably answer an issue of law; and a decision is available as a precedent only if it decides a question of law.
f)The only thing binding as an authority upon a subsequent judge is the principle upon which the case was decided
g)It is well settled that a decision of the Apex Court based on specific facts does not operate as a precedent for future cases. Only the principles of law that emanate from a judgment of the Court, which have aided in reaching a conclusion of the problem, are binding precedents within the meaning of Article 141.
h)The expression “declared” in Article 141 of the Constitution is wider than the words “found or made”. To declare is to announce opinion. Interpretation, ascertainment and evolution are parts of the process, while that interpreted, ascertained or evolved is declared as law.
In its recent ruling the Apex Court (2012) 3 SCC 387 said –
Para 28: Now, the interpretation of a legal provision and its application to a set of facts are two different exercises requiring different approaches.
28.1: "Interpretation" means the action of explaining the meaning of something. For interpreting a statutory provision, the court is required to have an insight into the provision and unfold its meaning by means of the well-established canons of interpretation, having regard to the object, purpose, historicism of the law and several other well-known factors. But, what is important to bear in mind is that the interpretation of a legal provision is always independent of the facts of any given case.
28.2: "Application" means the practical use or relevance (of something to something); the application of a statutory provision, therefore, is by definition case related and as opposed to interpretation, the application or non-application of a statutory provision would always depend on the exact facts of a given case. Anyone associated with the process of adjudication fully knows that even the slightest difference in the facts of two cases can make a world of difference on the question whether or not a statutory provision can be fairly and reasonably applied to it.
What constitute (a) Public Interest (b) Privacy © disclosure of info on the ground of furnishing of info to the Parliament / State Legislature ?
The keen observations of the Apex Court in the case of ADR /PUCL case [(2002) 5 SCC 294, [Relevant Paras 1, 2, 10, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, 48]; and Para 7 of the Bombay High Court Ruling (Kashinath J. Shetye versus Dinesh Vaghela, in WP No.1 of 2009, delivered by Justice C.L. Pangarkar, dated 20.01.2009), supplement the argument, of the existence of the element of “Public Interest” and “Larger Public Interest”, in the disclosure of Info, including of Income Tax Returns of Public Servants / MPs / Ministers etc.
The keen observations of the Apex Court in the case of Rajagopal case [(1996) 6 SCC 632 [Relevant Paras 1, 9, 18, 26] and in the case of ADR /PUCL case [(2002) 5 SCC 294 [Relevant Para 41]; and Para 8 of the Bombay High Court Ruling stated hereinbefore, supplement the argument, of the absence of the element of “Privacy” in the disclosure of Information, including of Income Tax Returns of Public Servants / MPs / Ministers etc.
The Para 8 of the Ruling of the Bombay High Court, referred hereinbefore, dealt with the proviso to section 8(1)(j) which dealt with the proposition that the disclosure of information on the ground of furnishing of information to the Parliament / State Legislature.
The observations of the Apex Court in the ADR /PUCL case [(2002) 5 SCC 294 [Relevant Para 42, 43, 44, 48] fortifies the proposition that “No further purported harm could accrue to the Public Servant / MPs / Ministers etc.”, in the disclosure of Information, including of Income Tax Returns of Public Servants / MPs / Ministers etc.
All the relevant Paras referred hereinbefore of the concerned Apex court and Bombay High court rulings are reproduced at the end of this write up.
Now, I take some liberty to divert from the main issue and seeks to articulate an incidental issue, that is to say, how and in what manner the Application under RTI be attended with by the concerned PIO and the mandate of section 11.
Whenever any PIO is in receipt of an Application u/s 6 of the Act, seeking information, the said PIO is, at the outset, expected to consider if the information requested, is exempted as per the provisions of Sections 8 and/or 9 of the RTI Act. If the PIO comes to the conclusion that the information requested is not exempted u/s 8 and/or 9, the PIO may disclose the information.
However, where the PIO intends to disclose the information, but where the information requested, has been supplied by a third party and is treated as confidential by the said third party, the PIO is obliged to intimate to the concerned third party of his intention to disclose the information.
If the third party objects to the disclosure of the information, the PIO is to keep it in his mind his objections while taking a decision about disclosure of the information requested.
The PIO is not obliged to accept every objection which has been raised by the concerned third party, and PIO is obliged to keep in view such objections of the third party; and these objections have to be tested at the mandate of sections 8 and / or 9 of the RTI Act. In other words, every objection raised by the third party has to be tested at the touchstone of the provisions of sections 8 and/or 9 of the RTI Act.
The PIO may then decide to deny the information requested only if he is convinced about the objections of the third party justifying that the information sought is exempted as per the provisions of Section 8 and/or 9 of the RTI Act.
The RTI Act does not give veto power to the third party, but provides the third party with an opportunity to raise his legitimate objections; and in case the PIO decides to disclose the information despite the objections, the concerned third party may prefer an Appeal against the decision of the said PIO, as per the provisions of Section 11 (2) to 11 (4). These express provisions 11(2) to 11(4) makes it clear that the third party is not rendered remediless, in cases where PIO disagrees with the third party’s objection in disclosure of information.
The expression “Where PIO intends to disclose information..” is guiding force to deal with the Application. Further, the nature of objections, if any, of the third party have to be justified in terms of the exemptions under Sections 8 and/or 9.
Section 11(3) contemplates “decision” about the disclosure or non- disclosure of information requested; and the PIO is obliged to inform the concerned third party about his said decision. It may be noted that this sub-section (3) contemplates only “decision” to disclose or not, and not the actual disclosure. And therefore, there are adequate safeguards in the Act to protect the interests of the third parties, who may prefer an Appeal, if their legitimate objections are ignored by the concerned PIO.
The reading of section 7(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, clearly suggests that information requested can be denied only u/ss 8 and / or 9 of the Act.
I further say that while deciding any Application / Appeal received u/s 6, 19(1) or 19(3) of the Act, the main issue before the PIO / 1st Appellate Authority (FAA) and Commission is “Having regard to the nature of information requested, and the grounds advanced by the Applicant / Appellant, if any, whether information can be furnished, at the touchstone of sections 8 and/or 9”.
Therefore, hile dealing with RTI Applications involving the purported applicability of section 8(1)(j), while granting or refusing the disclosure of the information, the issue is always of “subjective satisfaction” of the concerned PIO / FAA and the Commission, and each of the concerned authority has every right to reach appropriate conclusion, provided it records reasons for its said “subjective satisfaction”.
While dealing with the cases of personal information or cases of third party information, the concerned PIO, FAA and the Commissions are obliged to take independent decision, while taking into consideration the larger public interest involved in the disclosure of the information and the nature of the objection raised by the third party.
The said authorities are obliged to deal with the grounds, if any, furnished by the concerned Applicant / Appellant, and shall record their “satisfaction”, in the form of reasons, for rejection or for allowing the furnishing of information.
The concerned authorities cannot merely reject the Application, based on the objection raised by the third party, or reject the Application / Appeal, by merely stating that no larger public interest is involved in the disclosure of information requested.
Every request for information is a peculiar case in itself; and the expression “Public interest” is not capable of precise definition, and no hard and fast rules can be laid down as what constitutes Public interest. Its ascertainment would always depend on the nature of information requested.
Whereas I have tried to articulate the mandate of section 8(1)(j) hereinbefore, every Application / Appeal may accordingly deserves to be decided while applying the mandate of law to the facts and circumstances bearing each of the concerned Application / Appeal.
The observations in ADR /PUCL case [(2002) 5 SCC 294]
Para 1: Short but important question involved in these matters is _ in a nation wedded to republican and democratic form of government, where election as a Member of Parliament or as a Member of Legislative Assembly is of utmost importance for governance of the country, whether, before casting votes, voters have a right to know relevant particulars of their candidates?
Para 2 Petitioner has also referred Para 6.2 of the report of the Vohra Committee of the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, which reads as follows:-
"6.2 Like the Director CBI, the DIB has also stated that there has been a rapid spread and growth of criminal gangs, armed senas, drug Mafias, smuggling gang, drug peddlers and economic lobbies in the country which have, over the years, developed an extensive network of contacts with the bureaucrats/Government functionaries at the local levels, politicians, media persons and strategically located individuals in the non State sector. Some of these Syndicates also have international linkages, including the foreign intelligence agencies. In this context the DIB have given the following examples _
(i) In certain States like Bihar, Haryana and UP, these gangs enjoy the patronage of local level politicians, cutting across party lines and the protection of Governmental functionaries. Some political leaders become the leaders of these gangs, armed senas and over the year get themselves elected to local bodies State Assemblies and the national Parliament. Resultantly, such elements have acquired considerable political clout seriously jeopardising the smooth functioning of the administration and the safety of life and property of the common man causing a sense of despair and alienation among the people;
(ii) The big smuggling Syndicates having international linkages have spread into and infected the various economic and financial activities, including havala transactions, circulation of black money and operations of a vicious parallel economy causing serious damage to the economic fibre of the country. These Syndicates have acquired substantial financial and muscle power and social respectability and have successfully corrupted the Government machinery at all levels and yield enough influence to make the task of Investigating and Prosecuting agencies extremely difficult; even the members of the Judicial system have not escaped the embrace of the Mafia;
(iii) Certain elements of the Mafia have shifted to narcotics, drugs and weapon smuggling and established narco-terrorism networks specially in the States of J and K, Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The cost of contesting elections has thrown the politician into the lap of these elements and led to a grave compromise by officials of the preventive/detective systems. The virus has spread to almost all the centres in the country, the coastal and the border States have been particularly affected;
(iv) The Bombay bomb blast case and the communal riots in Surat and Ahmedabad have demonstrated how the India underworld has been exploited by the Pak ISI and the latter's network in UAE to cause sabotage subversion and communal tension in various parts of the country. The investigations into the Bombay bomb blast cases have revealed expensive linkages of the underworld in the various governmental agencies, political circles, business sector and the film world".
Para 10: Mr. K.K. Venugopal, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of Election Commission exhaustively referred to the counter affidavit filed on behalf of Election Commission. At this stage, we would refer to some part from the said affidavit. It is stated that issue of persons with criminal background' contesting election has been engaging the attention of the Election Commission of India for quite some time; even Parliament in the debates on 50 years of independence and the resolution passed in its special Session in August, 1997 had shown a great concern about the increasing criminalisation of politics; it is widely believed that there is criminal nexus between the political parties and anti-social elements which is leading to criminalisation of politics; the criminals themselves are now joining election fray and often even getting elected in the process. Some of them have even adorned ministerial berths and, thus, law breakers have become law makers.
Para 30: Now we would refer to various decisions of this Court dealing with citizens' right to know which is derived from the concept of 'freedom of speech and expression'. The people of the country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by the public functionaries. MP or MLAs are undoubtedly public functionaries. Public education is essential for functioning of the process of popular government and to assist the discovery of truth and strengthening the capacity of an individual in participating in decision making process. The decision making process of a voter would include his right to know about public functionaries who are required to be elected by him.
Para 31: In State of Uttar Pradesh V/s. Raj Narain and others (1975) 4 SCC 428), the Constitution Bench considered a question _ whether privilege can be claimed by the Government of Uttar Pradesh under Section 123 of the Evidence Act in respect of what has been described for the sake of brevity to be the Blue Book summoned from the Government of Uttar Pradesh and certain documents summoned from the Superintendent of Police, Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh? The Court observed that "the right to know which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary, when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can, at any rate, have no repercussion on public security. The Court pertinently observed as under :
"In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. - They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing..."
Para 32: In Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Private Ltd, and Others etc. V/s. Union of India and others [(1985) 1 SCC 641], this Court dealt with the validity of customs duty on the newsprint in context of Art. 19(1)(a). The Court observed (in para 32) thus:
"The purpose of the press is to advance the public interest by publishing facts and opinions without which a democratic country cannot make responsible judgments... "
Para 33: The Court further referred (in para 35) the following observations made by this Court in Romesh Thappar V/s. State of Madras (1950 SCR 594) :
"...(The freedom) lay at the foundation of all democratic organisations, for without free political discussion no public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the processes of popular government, is possible. A freedom of such amplitude might involve risks of abuse... (But) "it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigour of those yielding the proper fruits".
Again in paragraph 68, the Court observed :-
"....The public interest in freedom of discussion (of which the freedom of the press is one aspect) stems from the requirement that members of a democratic society should be sufficiently informed that they may influence intelligently the decisions which may affect themselves." (Per Lord Simon of Glaisdale in Attorney -General V/s. Times Newspapers Ltd. (1973) 3 All ER 54). Freedom of expression, as learned writers have observed, has four broad social purposes to serve: (1) it helps an individual to attain self -fulfilment, (ii) it assists in the discovery of truth, (iii) it strengthens the capacity of an individual in participating in decision -making and (iv) it provides a mechanism by which it would be possible to establish a reasonable balance between stability and social change. All members of society should be able to form their own beliefs and communicate them freely to others. In sum, the fundamental principle involved here is the people's right to know. Freedom of speech and expression should, therefore, receive a generous support from all those who believe in the participation of people in the administration...."
Para 34: From the afore-quoted paragraph, it can be deduced that the members of a democratic society should be sufficiently informed so that they may influence intelligently the decisions which may affect themselves and this would include their decision of casting votes in favour of a particular candidate. If there is a discharge by a candidate as sought for then it would strengthen the voters in taking appropriate decision of casting their votes.
Para 36: Thereafter, the Court summarised the law on the freedom of speech and expression under Art. 19(1)(a) as restricted by Art. 19(2) thus:_
"The freedom of speech and expression includes right to acquire information and to disseminate it. Freedom of speech and expression is necessary, for self -fulfilment. It enables people to contribute to debate on social and moral issues. It is the best way to find a truest model of anything, since it is only through it that the widest possible range of ideas can circulate. It is the only vehicle of political discourse so essential to democracy Equally important is the role it plays in facilitating artistic and scholarly endeavours of all sorts... "
Para 37: The Court thereafter (in paragraph 82) held :-
"True democracy cannot exist unless all citizens have a right to participate in the affairs of the polity of the country. The right to participate in the affairs of the country is meaningless unless the citizens are well informed on all sides of the issues, in respect of which they are called upon to express their views. One-sided information, disinformation, misinformation and non-information all equally create an uninformed citizenry which makes democracy a farce when medium of information is monopolised either by a partisan central authority or by private individuals or oligarchic organisations. This is particularly so in a country like ours where about 65 per cent of the population is illiterate and hardly 1 1/2 per cent of the population has an access to the print media which is not subject to pre-censorship."
The Court also observed -"a successful democracy posits an 'aware' citizenry."
Para 39-40: In the case of Dinesh Trivedi, M.P. and Others V/s. Union of India and Others [(1997) 4 SCC 306], the Court dealt with a petition for disclosure of a report submitted by a Committee established by the Union of India on 9/07/1993 which was chaired by erstwhile Home Secretary Shri N.N. Vohra which subsequently came to be popularly known as Vohra Committee.
In the said case, the Court dealt with citizen's rights to freedom of information and observed "in modern constitutional democracies, it is axiomatic that citizens have a right to know about the affairs of the Government which, having been elected by them, seek to formulate sound policies of governance aimed at their welfare". The Court also observed "democracy expects openness and openness is concomitant of a free society and the sunlight is a best disinfectant".
Para 41: Mr. Ashwini Kumar, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the intervenor submitted that the aforesaid observations are with regard to citizen's right to know about the affairs of the Government, but this would not mean that citizens have a right to know the personal affairs of MPs or MLAs. In our view, this submission is totally misconceived. There is no question of knowing personal affairs of MPs or MLAs. The limited information is - whether the person who is contesting election is involved in any criminal case and if involved what is the result? Further there are widespread allegations of corruption against the person holding post and power. In such a situation, question is not of knowing personal affairs but to have openness in democracy for attempting to cure cancerous growth of corruption by few rays of light. Hence, citizens who elect MPs or MLAs are entitled to know that their representative has not misconducted himself in collecting wealth after being elected. This information could be easily gathered only if prior to election, the assets of such person are disclosed. For this purpose, learned counsel Mr. Murlidhar referred to the practice followed in the United States and the form which is required to be filled in by a candidate for Senate which provides that such candidate is required to disclose all his assets and that of his spouse and dependants. The form is required to be re-filled every year. Penalties are also prescribed which include removable from ballot.
Para 42: Learned counsel Mrs. Kamini Jaiswal referred to All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968 and pointed out that a member of All India Service is required to disclose his/her assets including that of spouse and the dependant children. She referred to Rule 16 of the said Rules, which provides for declaration of movable, immovable and valuable property by a person who becomes Member of the Service. Relevant part of Rule 16 is as under:
"16. (1) Every person shall, where such person is a member of the Service at the commencement of these rules, before such date after such commencement as may be specifieded by the Government in this behalf, or, where such person becomes a member of the Service after commencement, on his first appointment to the Service submits a return of his assets and liabilities in such form as may be prescribed by the Government giving the full particulars regarding: -
(a) the immovable property owned by him, or inherited or acquired by him or held by him on lease or mortgage, either in his own name or in the name of any member of his family or in the name of any other person.
(b) shares, debentures, postal Cumulative Time Deposits and cash including bank deposits inherited by him or similarly owned, acquired or held by him;
© other movable property inherited by him or similarly owned, acquired or held by him; and
(d) debts and other liabilities incurred by him directly or indirectly"
Para 43: Such officer is also required to submit an annual return giving full particulars regarding the immovable and movable property inherited by him or owned or acquired or held by him on lease or mortgage either in his own name or in the name of any member of his family or in the name of any other person.
Para 44: It is also submitted that even the Gazetted Officers in all government services are required to disclose their assets and thereafter to furnish details of any acquisition of property annually. In our view, it is rightly submitted that in a democratic form of government, MP or MLA is having higher status and duty to the public. In P.V. Narasimha Rao. V/s. State (CBI/SPE) [(1998) 4 SCC 626], the Court inter alia considered whether Member of Parliament is a public servant? The Court [in para 162] held thus:
"A public servant is "any person who holds an office by virtue of which he is authorised or required to perform and public duty". Not only, therefore, must the person hold an office but he must be authorised or required by virtue of that office to perform a public duty. Public duty is defined by Section 2(b) of the said Act to mean "a duty in the discharge of which the State, the public or that community at large has an interest". In a democratic form of government it is the Member of Parliament or a State Legislature who represents the people of his constituency in the highest lawmaking bodies at the Centre and the State respectively. Not only is he the representative of the people in the process of making the laws that will regulate their society, he is their representative in deciding how the funds of the Centre and the State shall be spent and in exercising control over the executive. It is difficult to conceive of a duty more public than this or of a duty in which the State, the public and the community at large would have greater interest... "
Para 48: The Election Commission is directed to call for information on affidavit by issuing necessary order in exercise of its power under Art. 324 of the Constitution of India from each candidate seeking election to Parliament or a State Legislature as a necessary part of his nomination paper furnishing therein, information on the following aspects in relation to his/her candidature:-
(1) Whether the candidate is convicted / acquitted / discharged of any criminal offence in the past if any, whether he is punished with imprisonment or fine?
(2) Prior to six months of filing of nomination, whether the candidate is accused in any pending case, of any offence punishable with imprisonment for two years or more, and in which charge is framed or cognizance is taken by the Court of law. If so, the details thereof.
(3) The assets (immovable, movable, bank balances etc.) of a candidate and of his/her spouse and that of dependants.
(4) Liabilities, if any, particularly whether there are any over dues of any public financial institution or Government dues.
(5) The educational qualifications of the candidate.
The observations in Rajagopal case [(1996) 6 SCC 632]
Para 1: This petition raises a question concerning the freedom of press vis-a-vis the right to privacy of the citizens of this country. It also raises the question as to the parameters of the right of the press to criticise and comment on the acts and conduct of public officials.
Para 9: A more elaborate appraisal of this right took place in a later decision in Gobind V/s. State of M.P wherein Mathew, J. speaking for himself, Krishna lyer and Goswami, JJ. traced the origins of this right and also pointed out how the said right has been dealt with by the United States Supreme court in two of a its well-known decisions in Griswold V/s. Connecticut and Roe V/s. Wade. After referring to Kharak Singh and the said American decisions, the learned Judge stated the law in the following words:
Any right to privacy must encompass and protect the persona] intimacies of the home, the family, marriage, motherhood, procreation and child-rearing. This catalogue approach to the question is obviously not as instructive as it does not give analytical picture of the distinctive characteristics of the right of privacy. Perhaps, the only suggestion that can be offered as unifying principle underlying the concept has been the assertion that a claimed right must be a fundamental right implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.
Para 18: The principle of the said decision (New York Times versus Sullivan) has been held applicable to "public figures" as well. This is for the reason that public figures like public officials often play an influential role in ordering society. It has been held as a class the public figures have, as the public officials, have, access to mass media communication both to influence the policy and to counter criticism of their views and activities, On this basis, it has been held that the citizen has a legitimate and substantial interest in the conduct of such persons and that the freedom of press extends to engaging in uninhibited debate about the involvement of public figures in public issues and events.
Para 26: We may now summarise the broad principles flowing from the above discussion:
(1) the right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Art. 21. It is a "right to be let alone." A citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of his own, his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child bearing and education among other matters. None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent - whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages. Position may, however, be different, if a person voluntarily thrusts himself into controversy or voluntarily invites or raises a controversy.
(2) The rule aforesaid is subject to the exception, that any publication concerning the aforesaid aspects becomes unobjectionable if such publication is based upon public records including Court records. This is for the reason that once a matter becomes a matter of public record, the right to privacy no longer subsists and it becomes a legitimate subject for comment by press and media among others. We are, however, of the opinion that in the interests of decency (Article 19(2)) an exception must be carved out to this rule, viz., a female who is the victim of a sexual assault, kidnap, abduction or a like offence should not further be subjected to the indignity of her name and the incident being published in press/ media.
The observations made by Bombay High Court in the case of Kashinath J. Shetye versus Dinesh Vaghela, in WP No.1 of 2009, delivered by Justice C.L. Pangarkar, dated 20.01.2009
Para 7 The first thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that the petitioner is a public servant. When one becomes a public servant, he in strict sense becomes a public servant and as such, every member of public, gets a right to know about his working, his honesty, integrity and devotion to duty. In fact, nothing remains personal while as far as the discharging of duty. A public servant continues to be a public servant for all 24 hours. Therefore, any conduct/ misconduct of a public servant even in private, ceases to be private. When, therefore, a member of a public, demands an information as to how many leaves were availed by the public servant, such information though personal, has to be supplied and there is no question of privacy at all. Such supply of information, at the most, may disclose how sincere or insincere the public servant is in discharge of his duty and the public has a right to know.
Para 8: The next question is whether the applicant should be supplied the copies of the application at all. It was contended that the copies of the application should not be supplied for, they may contain the nature of the ailment and the applicant has no right to know about the ailment of the petitioner or his family. To my mind, what cannot be supplied, is a medical record maintained by the family physician or a private hospital. To that extent, it is his right of privacy, it certainly, cannot be invaded. The application for leave is not a medical record at all. It, at the most, may contain ground on which leave was sought. It was contended that under Sec.8 (1) (j), the information cannot be supplied. In this regard, it would be necessary to read proviso to that section. If the proviso is read, it is obvious that every citizen is entitled to have that information which the Parliament can have. It is not shown to me as to why the information as is sought, cannot be supplied to the Parliament. In fact, the Parliament has a right to know the ground for which a public servant has taken leave since his salary is paid from the public exchequer. In the circumstances, I do not find that the Information Commission committed any error in directing such information to be supplied. There is no substance in the writ petition. It is dismissed.
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समझ में नहीं आता कि कहां से शुरू करूं सवाल तो बहुत हैं दिल में लेकिन कुछ बातें ऐसी हैं कि अगर नहीं लिखता तो सच्चाई को छुपाने का आरोप लगेगा और लिखता हूं तो किसी का छुपा हुए राज से दुनिया को अवगत कराने का आरोप लगेगा इस लिए मुझे दोनों बातों का ख्याल रखते हुए लिखना पड़ रहा है
ये बात तो सभी जानते हैं कि गांव में विकाश की क्या हालत है सड़कें 20 साल से वैसी हैं जैसी 20 साल पहले थीं गांव में गरीब भी उतने ही हैं जितने 20 साल पहले थे जो गरीब थे वो आज भी गरीब हैं उन्हें कोई भी सरकारी योजना का लाभ नहीं मिलता सरकारी योजना का लाभ सिर्फ उन्हीं को मिलता है जो या तो किसी विधायक या प्रधान की चमचा गिरी करते हैं या पैसे वाले होते हैं मेरे गांव में आज ऐसे बहुत से परिवार है जिन्हें सरकारी अनाज की सख्त जरूरत है मगर उनका तो राशन कार्ड ही नहीं है और जिन्हें उज्ज्वला योजना के तहत गैस मिलनी चाहिए उन्हें आज तक नहीं मिली और जिन लोगों के पास गाड़ी बंदूक है खेती है saoodi वगैरह में कमाने वाले हैं उनके पास राशन कार्ड भी है और उज्ज्वला योजना के तहत गैस भी मिल गई है यानी गरीबों के हिस्से का अमीर खा रहे हैं मगर इस बात को बोलने वाला कोई नहीं है बोलेगा भी कौन वैसे भी गरीबों के हक के लिए कौन लड़ता है इंद्रा आवास योजना को ही देखले इस योजना के तहत जितने भी घर बने हैं उसमें से 70% घर उन लोगों को दिए गए हैं जिनके पास पहले से ही 2 2 पक्के घर बने हुए हैं और इन सबका कसूर वार कौन है इन सब के कसूर वार वहीं हैं जिन्हें। हम चुनते हैं कभी हिन्दू के नाम पर तो कभी मुसलमान के नाम पर क्या कभी हम किसी को विकाश के नाम पर चुने हैं यहां तक कि आज तक किसी ने प्रधान तक से ये सवाल नहीं किया होगा विधायक और संसद से सवाल करने का तो कोई सवाल ही नहीं उठता भूतपूर्व प्रधान राम कुमार ने इंद्रा आवास में उन्हीं लोगों के नाम लिखें हैं जो या तो उसके चमचे थे या फिर उसके साथ में दारू पीने वाले थे और जितने भी आवास पास हुए हैं उनमें से अधिकतर के पास पहले से ही पक्के घर बने हुए हैं और ये बात प्रधान और सचिव पंचायत मित्र सभी जानते हैं लेकिन कोई भी इसे सही करने की कोशिश नहीं करेगा यहां तक कि विधायक जैसे लोग भी सिर्फ हिन्दू मुस्लिम की बात करते हैं इस मामले में बात नहीं करते मैंने आज एक बड़े नेता से फोन पर बात की उनसे कहा कि साहब हमारे गांव में में बालू की 2 खदान चालू हुई हैं जिसकी वजह से हमारा पूरा गांव एक जेल बनकर रहगया गांव के दोनों तरफ से बालू के भरे ट्रक निकालते हैं आप कुछ करिए वर्तमान में आपकी सरकार है अगर आप कुछ कहेंगे तो आपकी अधिकारी और सरकार आपकी मानेगी तो सबसे पहले तो उन्होंने मेरा नाम पूछा तो मैंने अपना नाम संतोष बताया जानते हो उन्होंने क्या जवाब दिया अब उनका जवाब पढ़िए
उन्होंने कहा कि यार तुम लोग हिन्दू हो कैसे हिन्दू हो अरे यार हिन्दू भाई अपना अगर कमा रहा है। तो इसमें तुम्हें क्या तकलीफ़ है तुम्हें तो खुश होना चाहिए कि कोई हिन्दू मजबूत हो रहा है सिंधन में एक मुसलमान खदान चला रहा है तुम लोग उसमें नहीं बोलते हथौड़ा के मदरसे में आतंकवादी पढ़ते हैं तुम लोग उसमें नहीं बोलते तुम्हें सिर्फ यही लोग दिखते है अरे भाई जब हिन्दू मजबूत होगा तभी तो मुसलमान कमजोर होगा तो मैंने कहा साहब लेकिन हमारे गांव में खदान चालू हुई हैं उसमें मुसलमानों का कोई नुकसान नहीं है वो तो गांव के बीच में नुकसान तो हमारा हो रहा है एक तरफ ब्राह्मणों की बस्ती है तो दूसरी तरफ केवतों की बस्ती है अगर कोई दुर्घटना होगी तो हमारे साथ ही होगी मुसलमानों के साथ कहां होगी इसमें सबसे ज्यादा तकलीफ़ तो हिन्दुओं को है तो उन्होंने कहा कि भाई में इसमें कुछ नहीं कर्साकत ये हमारे एजेंडे में नहीं है तुमने बीजेपी को वोट दिया है तो मुसलमानों को कमजोर करने के लिए दिया है खदान बंद कराने के लिए नहीं दिया तो मैंने फोन काट दिया और फिर सोचता रहा की क्या वाकई हमारे गांव के हिन्दुओं ने मुसलमानों को कमजोर। करने के लिए बीजेपी को वोट दिया था ये तो वही लोग बता सकते हैं जिन्होंने बीजेपी को वोट दिया हो मगर ये बात समझ में आगई है कि बीजेपी ने मुसलमानों के नाम पर वोट लिया है उसका मकसद सिर्फ हिन्दू मुस्लिम करना है और कुछ नहीं और यही वो कर भी रहे हैं वरना क्या वजह है कि मैंने इस खदान के लिए प्रधान मंत्री को 3 बार लिख चुका हूं लेकिन कोई कार्रवाई नहीं हुई कार्रवाई होगी क्यों उन्हें तो हिन्दू भाई को मजबूत करना है सो वो करते हैं उन्हें इससे कोई लेना नहीं है कि जब पूरे गांव को तकलीफ़ होगी तो उसमें सिर्फ मुसलमान हो या हिन्दू सब को तकलीफ़ होगी अब ये बात हमारे गांव के हिंदुवो को सोचना चाहिए कि उन्होंने बीजेपी को वोट देकर कहीं ठग तो नहीं गए
मैं अपने गांव के हिन्दू भाइयों से निवेदन करता हूं कि वो अपने दिल। से मुसलमानों को कमजोर करने की भावना खतम कर्देन और आइंदा से ऐसे लोगों से दूर ही रहें
धन्य वादKya वाकई हिन्दू भाइयों को मुसलमान के नाम पर भड़काया गया
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Arrears and Backlog: Creating Additional Judicial (wo)manpower
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA
Report No. 245
The 20th Law Commission was constituted for a period of three years from 1st September, 2012 by Order No. A-45012/1/2012-Admn.III (LA) dated the 8th October, 2012 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, New Delhi.
The Law Commission consists of a full time Chairman, four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary), two Ex-officio Members and five part-time Members.
Hon’ble Justice A.P. Shah
Justice (Mr.) S.N. Kapoor
Prof. (Dr.) Mool Chand Sharma
Justice (Ms.) Usha Mehra
Mr. N.L. Meena, Member-Secretary
Mr. P.K. Malhotra, Secretary (Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Department)
Prof. (Dr.) G. Mohan Gopal
Mr. R. Venkataramani
Prof. (Dr.) Yogesh Tyagi
Dr. Bijai Narain Mani
Prof.(Dr.) Gurjeet Singh
The Law Commission is located in
14th Floor, Hindustan Times House,
New Delhi-110 001
Mr. N.L. Meena
Dr. (Smt.) Pawan Sharma : Joint Secretary & Law Officer
Shri A.K. Upadhyay : Additional Law Officer
Shri S.C. Mishra : Deputy Law Officer
Dr. V.K. Singh : Deputy Legal Adviser
The text of this Report is available on the Internet at :
© Government of India
Law Commission of India
The Commission deeply appreciates valuable inputs received from the Group it had constituted in finalising the report on “Imtiyaz Ahmad v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors (Criminal Appeal No.s254-262 of 2012)” to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the present report. The group that initially comprised : Prof. Theodore Eisenberg, Henry Allen Mark Professor of law, Adjunct Professor of Statistical Sciences at Cornell University; Prof. Sital Kalantry, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School; Prof. Sri Krishna Deva Rao, Registrar, National Law University, Delhi (as representative of NLU Delhi); and Mr. Nicholas Robinson, Fellow at Centre of Policy Research was expanded when Dr. Aparna Chandra and Mr. Utkarsh Saxena, Consultant to Law Commission of India joined it. Mr. Madhav Mallya and Ms. Vrinda Bhandari, Research Associates, National Law University and Mr. Saral Minocha and Ms. Sonal Sarda, students of National Law University also helped in analysing and compiling the data. Enthusiasm and dedication apart from research inputs of Dr. Aparna Chandra deserves special mention.
Denial of ‘timely justice’ amounts to denial of ‘justice’ itself. Two are integral to each other. Timely disposal of cases is essential for maintaining the rule of law and providing access to justice which is a guaranteed fundamental right. However, as the present report indicates, the judicial system is unable to deliver timely justice because of huge backlog of cases for which the current judge strength is completely inadequate. Further, in addition to the already backlogged cases, the system is not being able to keep pace with the new cases being instituted, and is not being able to dispose of a comparable number of cases. The already severe problem of backlogs is, therefore, getting exacerbated by the day, leading to a dilution of the Constitutional guarantee of access to timely justice and erosion of the rule of law. The present report is aimed at addressing this scenario that demands a multi-prong approach including more sensitive and rational judicial (wo)manpower planning.
It may be acknowledged that the present report is largely driven by the Hon’ble Supreme Court when in the matter of Imtiyaz Ahmad1 it directed the Commission to undertake an inquiry and submit its recommendations in relation to the following:
“I. Keeping in view that timely justice is an important facet to access to justice, the immediate measures that need to be taken by way of creation of additional Courts and other allied matters (including a rational and scientific definition of “arrears” and delay, of which continued notice needs to be taken), to help in elimination of delays, speedy clearance of arrears and reduction in costs. It is trite to add that the qualitative component of justice must not be lowered or compromised; and
II. Specific recommendations whenever considered necessary on the above aspects in relation to each State be made as a product of consultative processes involving the High Courts and other stake holders, including the Bar.”
For arriving at informed understanding of the problem at hand and for making any meaningful suggestion(s), to deal with it, the Commission requested all the High Courts to provide data on litigation in each district within their jurisdiction. To facilitate orderly organization and supply of data, the High Courts were sent a prescribed format (Annexure I). Some very useful data was produced. However, most High Courts due to variety of reasons, could not fully provide the data / information sought.
Keeping in view insufficiency of the data received, after detailed in-house discussions and also involving experts that an additional questionnaire was sent to various High Courts. In response, no doubt, some relevant data was received. However, lack of scientific collection, collation and analysis still remained a
serious constraint. Despite these constraints, reading and analyzing data received very closely, especially in the light of different methods of data analysis available that the Commission gave its response to queries and matter raised by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the same has provided the basis of this report.
While acknowledging that the problem of delay is not only enormous but complex, the Commission in the present report has remained confined to developing more informed understanding of as to whether problem of delay and strength of judges is a related one in some ways and if so how? In the report, an attempt has been made to suggest number of judges as are required to reduce delays. In a way, the report provides a roadmap for judicial (wo)manpower planning. While agreeing that there exists no clear ‘time standard’ or a ‘reference’ to which a case can be classified as ‘delayed’. How one defines ‘timeliness’ (and, therefore, how many cases are delayed) is crucial to suggest any kind of basis for computing how many additional judges are required to process cases in timely manner. Without arriving at some such definition, it is difficult to suggest any appropriate method for planning and computing additional resources required to contain problem of delay. Similarly, the Commission is fully aware as thus undermined in the report that terms, such as ‘arrears’, ‘pendency’ and ‘backlog’ which are so oftenly used in almost all kinds of discourse on working of justice administration system in India are used very vaguely and beg clear and precise definition. The report is an attempt to reflect and throw more light on some of these terms, and it is hoped that the policy makers and other stakeholders in the system may find these reflections and attempt to introduce some clarity by the present work of some use during their course of deliberations on judicial reforms.
As the pivotal issue for the report is to suggest some basis for computing as to how many additional judges are required to process cases in ‘timely’ manner to large extent, answer to this question depends on how one defines ‘timeliness’ (and, therefore, how many cases are delayed). As already mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, it may be emphasized at the cost of sounding repetitive that without arriving at some such definition, it is difficult to suggest any appropriate method for planning and computing additional resources required to contain the delay. A significant portion of the report right at the start, after critical examination of various approaches to defining terms like ‘arrears’, ‘pendency’ and ‘delay’ as floating around in the literature on the subject incorporates Commission’s own reflections. These reflections, while may provide little more clarity to assigning meaning to above referred terms which have been generally understood so ambiguously, the Commission still views that it may not be possible to devise any perfectly scientific and uniform definition of these concepts. Acknowledging such definitional limitation and of inadequacy of data received, present report culminates in making some suggestions on the additional resources required to dispose of the current pendency, and to prevent the backlog in future.
DEFINING KEY CONCEPTS: PENDENCY, DELAY,
ARREARS, AND BACKLOG
There is no single or clear understanding of when a case should be counted as delayed. Often, terms like “delay,” “pendency,” “arrears,” and “backlog” are used interchangeably. This leads to confusion. To avoid this confusion and for the sake of clarity, these terms may be understood as follows:
a. Pendency: All cases instituted but not disposed of, regardless of when the case was instituted.
b. Delay: A case that has been in the Court/judicial system for longer than the normal time that it should take for a case of that type to be disposed of.
c. Arrears: Some delayed cases might be in the system for longer than the normal time, for valid reasons. Those cases that show unwarranted delay will be referred to as arrears.
d. Backlog: When the institution of new cases in any given time period is higher than the disposal of cases in that time period, the difference between institution and disposal is the backlog. This figure represents the accumulation of cases in the system due to the system’s inability to dispose of as many cases as are being filed.
Therefore, as is evident, defining terms like delay and arrears require computing “normal” case processing time standards. How should the normal time frame be determined? It may be noted that since the Supreme Court had directed the Law Commission to recommend a “rational and scientific definition of “arrears” and delay,” the Commission clarified to the Hon’ble Court at the outset that there exists no single “objective” standard or mathematical formula by reference to which “normal” case processing time and hence delay can be defined or calculated. However, Commission is of the view that various methods, drawing on statistics, social science research techniques and experiential inputs can help make “rational” determination of “normal” case disposal times, and hence of delay. Based on a survey of various jurisdictions and previous reform efforts in India it is revealed that two approaches, and combinations thereof, are generally used in computing rational timeliness requirements.
The first approach, which can be called the Practice Assessment Approach, involves studying the patterns of current filing, disposal, case-length and pendency. A comparative analysis of these patterns inter se and between jurisdictions, can help policy makers determine whether a particular Court takes more or less time compared to either a system-wide average, or the median case in the system. This analysis does not tell the policy maker whether a particular Court or type of case is delayed. However, it does allow for a relative assessment of which Courts are taking longer than others, such that they may require targeted intervention in terms of greater allocation of resources, etc.2 When a Court is a complete outlier in terms of its case processing time, the policy maker (or superior Court) may be able to draw an inference that cases in that Court are unacceptably delayed and are, therefore, in arrear. 3 Further, while current practice assessments are inadequate for defining delay, they can reveal when and where (in which Court and in which types of cases) backlog is being created, so that targeted intervention is possible to address the issue. In the absence of other measures, this is the approach that the Commission has adopted in examining the question of adequate judicial strength for the Subordinate Judiciary.
Another approach, which may be called the Normative Assessment Approach, is to fix time standards for the disposal of cases. Cases that are disposed of within such time are not delayed; cases beyond such time are delayed; cases which exhibit unwarranted delay are in arrears. One of the means by which such standard setting can take place in a rigorous and rational manner is to begin by studying the current patterns of filing, disposal, pendency, length, etc. Based on this study, the policy maker can determine the average or median time taken for processing various types of cases. Studies based on interviews with stakeholders, examination of the life cycle of sample cases, etc, can then be undertaken to understand whether these time frames reflect an optimal standard for timely disposal. A committee of experts, drawn from persons with extensive experiential knowledge of the system, can then review the current patterns to determine optimality, keeping in mind resource constraints, Court cultures, system goals and constitutional and statutory requirements. The Normative Approach therefore, relies on an amalgam of past and current statistics, social science research techniques and experiential inputs to make a “rational” determination of “normal” case disposal times, and hence of delay.
One method of defining delay through the Normative Assessment Approach is by determining the normal time frame within which cases of a particular type should be processed through a Court. If a case takes longer than this time frame, then the case is delayed. Time frames can be in the nature of mandatory time limits, or they can provide general guidelines that are normally to be followed, but can be departed from in exceptional circumstances.
Countries like the US have limited mandatory time frames, for example under the US Speedy Trial Act, 1974.5 However, India does not have general statutory time limits comparable to the US Speedy Trial Act. While the Civil Procedure Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code, have time frames for completing certain stages of the case, these statutes generally do not prescribe time limits within which the overall case should be completed, or each step in the trial should be concluded.6
On the judicial side, setting of mandatory time limits was attempted by the Supreme Court in a series of cases.7 However, in 2002 a seven judge bench of the Court in P. Ramchandra Rao v. State of Karnataka8 held that mandatory time limits could not be prescribed by the Court.9 Though the Court was not in favour of mandatory time limits, it did not find problematic the use of time frames as guidelines for the Court. The prescription of such non-binding, directory guidelines has been a common means of defining normal time frames and evaluating delay, both in India and abroad.10 In India, previous Law Commissions and various Governmental Committees have suggested various directory time frames both as guidelines to Courts for the timely disposal of cases, and as standards by which delay in the system can be measured.11 However, all these suggestions are based on ad-hoc prescriptions rather than grounded in empirical analysis and observation. And thus the concern raised by the Hon’ble Supreme
It is neither advisable, nor feasible, nor judicially permissible to draw or prescribe an outer limit for conclusion of all criminal proceedings. The time-limits or bars of limitation prescribed in the several directions made in Common Cause (I), Raj Deo Sharma (I) and Raj Deo Sharma (II) could not have been so prescribed or drawn and are not good law. The criminal Courts are not obliged to terminate trial or criminal proceedings merely on account of lapse of time, as prescribed by the directions made in Common Cause Case (I), Raj Deo Sharma case (I) and (II). At the most the periods of time prescribed in those decisions can be taken by the Courts seized of the trial or proceedings to act as reminders when they may be persuaded to apply their judicial mind to the facts and circumstances of the case before them and determine by taking into consideration the several relevant factors as pointed out in A.R. Antulay’s case and decide whether the trial or proceedings have become so inordinately delayed as to be called oppressive and unwarranted. Such time-limits cannot and will not by themselves be treated by any Court as a bar to further continuance of the trial or proceedings and as mandatorily obliging the Court to terminate the same and acquit or discharge the accused.
Court in Imtiyaz Ahmad, viz., of providing “a rationale and scientific definition of ‘arrears’ and ‘delay’ demands deeper study and rigorosity in terms of data.
Time frames serve as performance benchmarks and provide guidance to Courts as well as other stakeholders on what constitutes the timely disposal of a case, and enable them to determine both whether an individual case is being processed in a timely manner; and whether a Court or system as a whole is providing timely justice. Where time frames are not mandatory, they can be departed from, but only in limited circumstances, and often with the requirement of justification for why such departure from the time frame is necessary. This provides the flexibility needed to individualize case processing, while at the same time, taking care of the systemic concerns over timeliness.
Though general time frames of this type serve a useful benchmarking purpose, and are well suited as a time template for the run of the mill or average case, they require further fine tuning for cases which require less or more time. A standardized time frame is likely to be both over and under inclusive in determining the requirements of timely justice. The intention behind benchmarking performance is not to have all cases processed at the same time. Each case is different and might have different requirements. Therefore, apart from general guidance there is a requirement for case-specific determination of what would amount to a timely disposal of the case. Case-specific time tables are generally adopted to meet this object of individualized timely justice. Such time tables are fixed by the judge hearing a particular dispute, generally at a scheduling hearing held towards the start of proceedings, so that all parties know who has to perform what activity, and by when. Setting individualized time-tables allows the judge to mould the general time frame to suit the requirements of the individual case, while at the same time keeping in mind the needs of the overall case-load before the judge. The time table set at the beginning of the case proceedings then becomes the benchmark by which the timeliness of the proceedings is measured. Unforeseen events may de-rail the time-table, but the case, though delayed, would not be counted as an arrear, if the delay was warranted.
Case specific time-tables are used as timeliness standards, delay reduction methods, and yardsticks for measuring delays in the system in various jurisdictions around the world, including U.S.,12 U.K.,13 and Canada.14 In India the Supreme Court has also recently advocated the use of case-specific time tables for the timely disposal of cases, in the case of Ramrameshwari Devi v. Nirmala Devi.15
As a staple part of systematic case management strategies, such timetables provide clear time frames for dispute resolution, define litigant expectations of timeliness, and thus impact the litigant experience of delay. They allow the judge flexibility to take into account the specific aspects of an individual case in framing a time schedule for that case. When accompanied by general time frame guidelines, the possibility of abuse of the power by setting long time frames can be avoided.
When case-specific targets cannot be met because of systemic delays the system needs to take responsibility for allocating proper resources. Where the delay is because of the conduct of parties, the judge can provide sanctions for such behavior, including, dismissing the application, imposing costs, etc.
The Normative Assessment Approach requires state level studies to determine optimal time frames. High Courts are best placed to take into account state level concerns and circumstances in determining adequate time standards. Within the frame work of these time standards, individual Subordinate Court Judges can set time frames for individual cases. For this system to work, a strong monitoring frame work would be required, whereby the timeliness of the caseload of individual judges can be supervised by High Courts. Annual reporting of disposal
and timeliness data will also ensure public scrutiny and add another layer of accountability towards timeliness goals and standards.
As a beginning however, the Normative Assessment Approach requires extensive and sustained study over a period of time in order to provide a rational and scientific definition of delays and arrears. In the meantime, in the absence of such time frames, and for the purposes of the study of adequate judicial strength in India’s Subordinate Judiciary, the Commission has examined the current patterns of institution, disposal and pendency, to address the question of whether more judicial resources are required (and where they should be targeted) in order to clear the current pendency and prevent the accumulation of backlog in the future.
COMPUTING JUDGE STRENGTH
A. Overview of Data and its Limitations
Lack of complete data was a great handicap in making critical analysis and more meaningful suggestions as responses to questionnaires received from many High Courts16 were incomplete. However, data supplied by High Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab & Haryana, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand proved very useful in furnishing the basis for the present work. The analysis in this report is based on the data received from these High Courts.
High Courts have provided data for the period 2002 to 2012. All the data received has been computed on an annual basis. Therefore, for example, each High Court has provided data as on 31st December of each year, under the categories of institution, disposal, pendency, etc.
Some High Courts provided data that was disaggregated into two categories: Higher Judicial Service and Subordinate Judicial Service. Other High Courts provided data disaggregated by cadre, i.e., Higher Judicial Service, Civil Judge (Senior) Division, and Civil Judge (Junior) Division. For uniformity of analysis, all the data has been analysed in the two broad categories of Higher Judicial Service and Subordinate Judicial Service.
It is important to note that the data on institution, disposal and pendency does not indicate the actual number of cases in the system. High Courts count data in various ways. Some High Courts such as those of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa and Sikkim count interlocutory applications before Subordinate Courts as separate institutions, disposals and pendencies. Kerala even counts committal proceedings as separate for purposes of institution, disposal and pendency. Therefore, a single case may be counted multiple times in some High Courts. Thus, the number of cases pending, instituted or disposed of by the Courts is significantly smaller than the overall pendency, institution or disposal figures would suggest.
Further, the multiplicity of approaches in tabulating data make a cross-comparison between different High Courts problematic. For example, in the High Courts of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh,
B. Analysis of Data
The data shows that overall, institution, disposal and pendency have all been on the rise in this category in the last decade.
The data shows that while the annual rate of institution, disposal and pendency has increased overall in the 2002-2012 period, in the last few years, pendency has been on a decline whereas institution and disposal are largely constant.
The data for the Higher Judicial Service also indicates that in the 2002-2012 period, by and large, more cases have been instituted than have been disposed of in any given year. As a result, a backlog is being created in the system.
12. Backlog Creation Rate is the ratio of institution to disposal in any given year. If the ratio is greater than 1, this implies that more cases are being instituted than are being disposed of. If the ratio is less than one, then more cases are being disposed of, than are being instituted. A number less than 1, therefore, indicates that the judicial system is being able to handle new institutions.
As the figures indicate, the Higher Judicial Service is disposing of fewer cases than are being instituted. As such, it is adding to the backlog of cases in the system. On the other hand, in the Subordinate Judicial Service, the disposal rate is higher than the institution, implying that the backlog is being reduced. It should be pointed out here that the backlog creation analysis does not indicate whether the same cases that were filed in a given year were disposed of in that year. Rather, it takes a systemic perspective and looks at how many new cases are coming in, in relation to how many cases are going out. A low backlog creation rate, therefore, indicates that the system as a whole is incapable of dealing with the recurring annual demand for Judicial Services, and is, therefore, in need of additional resources.
As mentioned realier, the Backlog Creation Rate focuses on the number of cases going in and out of the system in a given year and does not take into account the already backlogged cases that carry forward from year to year.
To understand how well Courts are handling the already backlogged cases, the Pendency Clearance Time is useful. This figure is arrived at by dividing the pendency at the end of the year by the disposal that year, and indicates the amount of time it would take to dispose of all pending cases if no new cases were filed. The following figures indicate the annual pendency clearance time in the 2002-2012 period for the Higher Judicial Service and the Subordinate Judiciary, respectively.
Overall, for both the Higher Judicial Service and the Subordinate Judicial Service, the time it would take to clear pendency has declined in the 2002-2012 period. This implies that overall, the system is processing cases faster at the end of 2012 than it was in 2002. While these figures do not indicate the types of cases that are being processed through the system, the figures do provide an overall picture of the system and indicate the broad trajectory of the system in the past decade.
The data also indicates that in the High Courts under consideration, in the last three years 38.7% of institutions and 37.4% of all pending cases before the Subordinate Judicial Services were traffic and police challans.19 An additional 6.5% and 7.8% cases account for institution and pendency respectively of Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act, matters.20 Annexure V provides the numerical data and the following figures provide State-wise breakup of institution and pendency including data on traffic/police challans and Negotiable Instrument Act matters.
Cases of traffic and police challans generally do not require much judicial involvement. However, given the high volume of such cases, they cumulatively take up a significant amount of judicial time. The bulk of these cases deal with the payment of fines and are usually uncontested by parties. For such cases, automation of the system through the ability to pay fines online or at a designated counter in the Court complex, can significantly free up valuable Court time. For the remainder, the Commission considers that the creation of separate Special Traffic Courts, over and above the regular Courts, may significantly reduce the burden on regular Courts. These Special Courts can sit in two shifts (morning and evening). Since most such cases are not contested and do not involve lawyers, the shift system is not likely to inconvenience other stakeholders. In fact, the evening Court shift is likely to assist parties to come to Court after work hours and pay their fines. Recent law graduates can be recruited on a temporary basis (e.g., for 3 year periods) to preside over these Courts.21 However, cases in which there is a possibility of imprisonment, should be tried by regular Courts.
Thus, a simple analysis of data supplied shows that there is a large amount of double counting of institution, disposal and pendency figures in the Subordinate Judiciary, such that the total volume of cases being processed through the system is significantly less than the figures supplied by the High Courts. Tit is also evident from the data that a high proportion of cases before the Subordinate Judicial Service comprises of petty matters like traffic and police challans. As already suggested, it is reiterated that these petty matters can better be dealt with by special morning and evening Courts over and above the regular Courts. The burden on the regular Courts will be significantly reduced as a result.
C. Methodologies for Computing Adequate Judge Strength
Most oftenly referred methods in most discussions for computing adequate judge strength are: the judge-population ratio, the judge-filing ratio, the ideal case load method, time based methods, and the rate of Disposal Method. Briefly analyzing these methods and looking into their pros and cons the report finds greater favour with the rate of Disposal Method.
1. Judge to Population Ratio & Judge to Filing Ratio
One method commonly advocated for determining how many judges are required in the judicial system is the judge to population ratio, i.e., the number of judges per million persons in the population.22 The Commission finds this method very wanting because there is no objective number by reference to which we can determine whether the judge to population ratio of any State is adequate. It is known that filings per capita vary substantially across geographic units. Filings per capita are associated with economic and social conditions and can vary across India’s States by as much as a factor of 50.23 The justice needs of different societies thus vary, and no universal standard can be prescribed in this regard. Therefore, while population might be the appropriate metric to measure the availability of other essential services like health care and nutrition, it is not an appropriate standard for measuring the requirement for Judicial Services.
Another similar method oftenly referred to on various discussions is to look at the Judge to Institution Ratio.24 This would tell how many judges a State has relative to the existing pattern of demand for judicial services within that state. Here, again, however, there is no ideal number of judges per 1000 instituted cases, by reference to which one can determine whether or not a State needs more judges and by how much. Further, institution figures often vary depending upon the issue area and the social identity of those instituting cases. Socially marginalized groups are likely to have lower institution rates for reasons of lack of access to Courts.25 Institution figures may also vary depending upon the geography. Far-flung areas, where physical access to Courts is a problem, may have low institution figures compared to the population. No doubt, while these are not by themselves reasons to discard the judge to institution ratio method but they do caution that merely meeting some ideal ratio will not necessarily fulfill the justice needs of a society.
2. The Ideal Case Load Method
Another method sometimes advocated for fixing the appropriate judge strength is the ideal case load method. This method requires a determination of the ideal number of cases that a judge should have on his/her docket. The total caseload (existing pendency plus new institutions) can then be divided by the ideal case load to estimate the number of judges required by the system. Where the number of cases per judge is disproportionately higher than the ideal case load, additional judges are required to be recruited.26
The ideal case load method seems difficult to implement in practice. One is absence of any exhaustive study, one does not find any fixed criteria for determining what the ideal case load should be. Generally, ideal case loads are fixed on an ad hoc basis. To give one illustration, the Law Commission vide letter no. 6(3)/224/2012-LC(LS) dated 28.05.2012 had asked High Courts to provide “reasonable workloads that each category of Courts (DJ, Sr. Civil Judge, Jr. Civil Judge/Magistrate) can bear in order to establish better and speedy access to justice.” However, the information received from various High Courts revealed that measurements of ideal case load for each cadre of judge varies widely across states. Thus for instance, the reasonable workload for the Higher Judicial Service was suggested to be 120 in Madhya Pradesh, 500 in Andhra Pradesh, 750 in Jammu and Kashmir and 1000 in Orissa. This wide variation across states is a result, in part, of the lack of a rational basis for determining the ideal case load.
Second, different types of cases require different amounts of judicial time. A murder trial is generally likely to consume much more time, for example, than a summary trial in a petty offence. An ideal case load approach that looks only at the number of files before the judge, will treat both cases as equal even though a judge with 500 murder cases is likely to be over-stretched and one with 500 summary trials, under-utilized. To be fruitful, the ideal case load method requires some analysis of the types of cases likely to come up before a judge. Also, there is need to analyze as to the amount of time each type of case normally takes. Such analysis may probably give an idea of what should constitute ‘ideal case load’ before a judge. However, there is need to be cautious because the existing case mix can change fairly quickly, for instance, through the emergence of new laws and increased rights awareness. For example, The present section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, was a result of an amendment in 2002 vide the
Negotiable Instruments (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2002 (55 of 2002). This provision has been wide used and has drastically changed the number and type of cases in the case mix before the Subordinate Judiciary.
Finally, if we were to do the study into the case mix and case times required to operationalize the ideal case load method, this information can be directly used to determine the appropriate number of judges required by the system. The via media of ideal case load would not be required. The method to determine the appropriate number of judges by using case mix and case times is discussed below.
3. The Time Based Method
Another model often used, as for example in the US, for determining the number of judges required by the judicial system is the Time Based Method.28 Broadly speaking, this method determines the time required to clear the existing judicial caseload. It then determines the time available per judge for judicial work. Dividing the first number by the second provides the number of judges required to deal with the existing caseload.
In more detail, the time based method involves determining the ideal or actual time taken by judges in deciding a particular type of case on average. Then it requires determining the average number of cases of that type being instituted and pending in the Courts. Multiplying the number of cases with the time required per case, gives the number of judicial hours required to deal with cases of that type. Dividing this by the number of judicial hours available per year gives the number of judges required to deal with cases of that type. Adding this information for all types of cases that a particular category of judges deals with gives the number of judges required for disposing of the caseload.
In the United States where this approach is followed, the National Centre for State Courts (“NCSC”) conducts studies to determine the number of minutes it takes judges to resolve certain cases. Judges are interviewed and are often required to keep time sheets in order to determine the time value of each type of case.
The Time-Based Method, as followed by the NCSC computes the number of judges using four pieces of data:
1) The number of cases instituted by Court, district, and type of case
2) The average bench and non-bench time a judge requires to resolve each type of case within the Court
3) The amount of time a judge has available to complete case-related work per year
4) The number of active judges by Court and district
All the information required to run this model for Indian Courts is not available. In India, the system does not have any information about the time required by judges to resolve each type of case. This lack of information points to a larger systemic problem. Any effort at delay reduction has to first determine how many cases in the system are delayed. This requires determining what the normal time frame for a particular type of case should be, such that anything beyond this time frame is considered delayed. The judicial system has no such benchmark and, therefore, has no data on how many cases are delayed (as opposed to pending).
One proxy for time could be units. Since judges are required to complete a certain number of units per month, and one knows the time available per judge for judicial work per month, and can calculate the time value of each unit. One can then determine the time value of each type of case by looking at the number of units allotted to that type of case. This would give the data required in point 2 above.
However, two problems arise:
1. Units are not a good proxy for time. Units serve as performance benchmarks for judges. As such they are used for different purposes. Often units are used to incentivize the quick disposal of certain types of cases, for example, cases pending for a certain number of years. Second, they are used to incentivize greater productivity. Therefore, for the same type of case, more units per case is sometimes awarded if a judge completes a certain number of such cases. Therefore, the allocation of units is not based solely on time.
2. The data about institution, disposal and pendency that High Courts record, often do not map well against the information available on units. For example, while it is known that the number of Section 302, IPC cases instituted and pending before the Sessions Courts of Delhi, it is not clear how many witnesses are required to be deposed in each case. Units though are awarded, inter alia, on the basis of the number of witnesses in a particular case. Hence, even if one knew the time value of each unit, one would not know the unit value of each murder case instituted or pending before the Court.
For these reasons, the Commission feels that any approach that uses “unit as a proxy for time” may not be a sound approach. There is no other proxies for time and further no scientific data in this regard is available. The time Based Method as practiced elsewhere may not be applicable or feasible in Indian context.
4. The Rate of Disposal Method
In the present scenario, especially in the absence of complete and scientific approach to data collection that the commission finds the use of the Rate of Disposal Method to calculate the number of additional judges required to clear the backlog of cases as well as to ensure that new backlog is not created as more pragmatic and useful. This method generally speaking addresses two important concerns: (a) a large existing backlog of cases and (b) new being instituted daily which are adding to the backlog.
To address both these concerns, the Rate of Disposal Method can be applied to provide for two sets of judges: (a) Number. of judges required to dispose of the existing backlog and (b) Number of judges required for ensuring that new filings are disposed of in a manner such that further backlog is not created.
It may not be out of context to briefly explain what constitutes “Rate of Disposal Method”. Under the Rate of Disposal Method, one first looks at the current rate at which judges dispose of cases. Next one determines how many additional judges working at a similar level of efficiency would be required so that the number of disposals equals the number of institutions in any one year time frame. As long as the institution and disposal levels remain as they currently are, the Courts would need these many additional judges to keep pace with new filings in order to ensure that newly instituted cases do not add to the backlog.
Second, working with the current rate of disposal of cases per judge one is also required to look at how many judges would be required to dispose of the current backlog. Backlog, for the present, has been defined as those cases which have been pending in the system for more than a year.30
It has to be noted that in the past the Law Commission and other Committees have suggested that since the judges required to dispose of the backlog are needed only till the backlog is cleared, therefore, short-term ad hoc appointments be made from among-st retired judges, for the purpose of clearing backlog. Most recently, the National Vision Statement and Action Plan presented by the Law Minister in October 2009, also recommended that retired judges and eminent lawyers may be appointed as ad hoc judges for a period of one year for dealing with arrears.32 However, as previous experiences with appointing ad hoc judges has shown, there are serious concerns about such appointments, especially the lack of accountability in the functioning and performance of ad-hoc judges, since these are short term appointments.
Further, even if ad hoc judges were to be appointed, additional infrastructure for these Courts would have to be created. Though the National Vision Statement recommended adopting a shift system to overcome the infrastructure problem,33 this proposal has been resisted by members of the Bar since it significantly increases their working hours.34
Significantly, the Central Government, the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, and the Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, have all proposed the doubling of the current judge strength.35 As per the information supplied by the Department of Justice to the Law Commission indicate that consultations are currently underway between the Central Government, the State Governments, and the High Courts, on formulating memoranda to be presented to the 14th Finance Commission regarding funds required for doubling the judge strength. The Commission recommends that since this decision to double judge strength has already been taken, the judges required for disposing of the backlog can be drawn from the new recruitment itself. Once backlog is cleared, these judges can be deployed for disposing of freshly instituted cases, which will also increase over time.
Given the vast resources required to double the existing judge strength, the time that it will take to complete selection and training processes, and the funds and time required to create adequate infrastructure, the Commission is of the opinion that the Rate of Disposal Method should be used to indicate how many judges should be appointed on a priority basis for the interim period. Tables I- XII below, provide data for how many judges need to be hired to dispose of the backlog in one, two, or three years.36
The Rate of Disposal Method provides an approximation- a rough and ready calculation- based on current efficiency levels of the Subordinate Judiciary, of the adequate judge strength required to address the problem of backlog in the judicial system. The formula as proposed below has been evolved largely based on the data that the Commission could gather. With more precise data, the formula indicated below can be fine-tuned to provide a more exact estimation of the additional judges required. Keeping in view concerns expressed about other methods and other analysis as carried out here, the Commission is of the view that the method proposed here could provide a reasoned basis (as opposed to ad-hoc) for determining adequate judge strength.
The method is as below:
1. The method aims at calculating the number of judges required in each cadre of Subordinate Court Judges, i.e., Higher Judicial Service, Civil Judge Senior Division and Civil Judge Junior Division. For evolving the method, a separate analysis of figures for institution, disposal and the working strength of judges in each of these three cadres from 2010 to end 2012 was carried out.
2. Disposals for one cadre of judges (e.g., Higher Judicial Service) is divided by the working strength of judges in that cadre. Working strength refers to sanctioned strength minus vacancies and deputations. This division gave the annual Rate of Disposal per judge in a cadre for each year from 2010 to 2012. The average of these annual rate of disposal figures gave the Average Rate of Disposal per judge in that cadre.
3. An average of the annual institutions before each cadre of judge for the years 2010-12 was taken.37 The average institution was divided by the
Average Rate of Disposal per judge for that cadre to give the number of judges required to keep pace with the current filings, and ensure that no new backlog is created. This figure has been described as : The Break Even Number.
4. Subtracting the current number of judges from the Break Even Number gives us the Additional Number of Judges required to ensure that the number of disposals would equal the number of institutions.
5. The backlog for a particular cadre of judges (defined as all cases pending before that cadre of judges for more than a year) was then divided by the rate of disposal for that type of judge. This gave the number of judges required to clear the backlog within a year. Dividing this number by 2 gives the number of judges required to clear the backlog in 2 years, and so forth.
Based on application of these formulae, the following tables were generated. These tables indicate the additional number of Subordinate Court Judges required to breakeven, and the number of Subordinate Court Judges required to clear the existing backlog for the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab & Haryana, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand.
The method can easily be illustrated with an example. Table I shows the rate of disposal analysis for the Andhra Pradesh Subordinate Courts. As this data shows, in 2010 Andhra Pradesh had 129 judges of the Higher Judicial Service who disposed of 109085 cases, at an average of 109085/129 = 845.6 cases per judge. Similarly, in 2011, 139 judges disposed of 111892 cases at an average of 111892/139 = 805 cases per judge; and in 2012, 136 judges disposed of 106997 cases at an average of 106997/136 = 786.7 cases per judge. On average, therefore, judges of the Higher Judicial Service disposed of (845.6+805+786.7)/3
= 812.4 cases per judge per year in this time period. This is the Average Rate of disposal per judge.
Now the average institution per year from 2010-2012 in the Higher Judicial Service cadre is (112209+112710+113250)/3=112723. If each judge is disposing of on average 812.4 cases per year, then the number of judge required to dispose of 112723 cases is 112723/812.4 = 138.7. This is the breakeven number, which implies that if there were 138.7 Higher Judicial Service judges then in any given time period, all new institutions would be disposed of without adding to the backlog. Since currently there are 136 judges of this cadre, there the need is 138.7- 136=3 (rounding off to the higher number) additional judges to reach the breakeven number. The breakeven number deals with the current institutions.
There is also a huge backlog of cases. In the case of the Higher Judicial Service, 98072 matters are pending for more than a year, as on 31.12.2012. If one judge disposes of 812.4 cases per year on average, then system would need 98072/812.4 = 121 judges to dispose of all pending matters in one year, or 121/2=61 (after rounding off), or 121/3=41 (after rounding off) for disposing of all pending cases in 2 and 3 years respectively.
A closer look at the foregoing analysis of the data and evaluating various methods as discussed the Commission considers it important to emphasize the following:
1. Appointment of judges on a priority basis: As this data indicates, the situation is indeed grim, and is getting worse by the moment. In all states, there is a significant backlog of cases which requires a massive influx of judicial resources even if one takes a 3 year time frame for clearing backlog. Bihar, for example, requires an additional 1624 judges to clear backlog in three years. The problem of backlogs is compounded by the fact that in some states, Courts are unable to even keep pace with the new filings, thus adding to the already huge backlog. As the data shows, even where the Courts are breaking even, the system is severely backlogged and requires urgent intervention.38 Given the large number of judges required to clear backlog and the time it will take to complete selection and training processes, the Law Commission recommends that the recruitment of new judges should, therefore, focus, as a matter of priority, on the number of
judges required to breakeven, and to dispose of the backlog in a 3 year time frame. This has to be dealt with on a priority basis, otherwise the already severe problem of backlogs will only get worse.
2. Special Traffic Courts: The figures for institution and disposal do not include traffic challans/police challans. As mentioned in Part III A above, the Law Commission recommends that these cases be dealt with by Special Courts, over and above the regular Courts. The Special Courts can function in morning and evening shifts. Much of the work of these Courts is likely to require very little judicial involvement. Therefore, recent law graduates can be appointed for short durations, e.g., 3 years, to preside over these Courts. Providing online facilities for the payment of fines, or separate counter facilities in Court precincts for this purpose, can ease the work load of these Courts considerably. In order to ensure fair process, Special Traffic Courts should deal only with cases which involve fines. Where imprisonment is a likely consequence, the matter should be heard by a regular Court. Staffing such Courts with recent law graduates will also have the added benefit of providing such graduates with a meaningful stepping stone for careers in litigation or the judicial services.
It is to be noted that the Backlog figures do not exclude traffic challans. Data on what proportion of pending traffic/police challans were more than a year old were not available. However, given that these cases generally do not require much judicial involvement, most of these cases are not likely to be backlogged.
3. Periodic Needs Assessment for the Judiciary: The present work is based on analysis of institution, disposal and pendency data for the time period 2010-12. Institution and disposal trends can and will change over time. New laws, greater awareness of rights, changing social circumstances, and even the reduction of judicial delay are likely to lead to an increase in the number of cases being instituted. At the same time, better infrastructure, more support staff, access to time-saving technology and better training are likely to increase the efficiency levels (and hence, rate of disposal) of judges. Since the method of calculating Additional number of Judges depends on these figures, the Law Commission recommends that the trend of institutions and disposals should be constantly monitored by the High Courts, in order to meet the evolving needs of the judiciary. Using the formula provided above, judge strength should be increased periodically, particularly when institution rates start climbing over disposal rates. The Commission also recommends that in order to engage in this analysis, High Courts should put in place reliable and regular data collection and management systems.
4. Efficient Deployment of Judicial Resources: The Commission recognizes that apart from increasing the judge strength, there is also need for efficient deployment of the additional judicial resources. While the rate of Disposal Method indicates how many additional judges are required it does not indicate how these additional judicial resources should be allocated (e.g., which Courts, which districts, what types of cases) to best meet the goal of delay reduction. Further, the Commission also recognizes that the most efficient allocation of resources will depend upon various local factors and micro level analyses, for which pan-India recommendations may be inappropriate. Therefore, the Law Commission recommends that once appointments are made, High Courts should make appropriate allocation of judicial work, keeping in mind the following factors:
a. In this report, all cases pending for less than a year have been treated as current cases. All cases pending for more than a year have been categorized as backlogged cases. The Commission recognizes that this division is ad hoc. However, as elaborated earlier in this report, we do not have any established metric for determining when a case can be considered delayed for purpose of counting only delayed cases in the backlogged category. In the absence of this information, a time frame of one year has been taken as the period for considering a case as current or backlogged. It is possible that a Court with high pendency of backlogged cases might have many recently filed pending cases whereas another Court with a relatively
lower backlog may have a high proportion of very old pending cases. High Courts should, therefore, allocate more resources for Courts with more old pending matters than those with relatively new case loads.
b. It is also important to note that not every case requires the same amount of judicial time or resources. A petty case may be considered delayed if it takes more than 3 months whereas a murder case may be considered disposed of well in time if it takes 6 months for disposal. However, the rate of Disposal Method does not take this complexity into account. The Commission has taken one, two and three years as the time frames within which pending cases should be disposed of. However, one year might be too much time for some cases, and too little for others. A benchmark to determine delay and the requisite age wise break up of cases by subject area, can help to determine what percentage of cases are delayed and hence require targeted intervention. On the general principle of first in, first out for each type of case, High Courts should allocate more resources for Courts with more delayed pending cases.
c. Similarly, even if a Court has a relatively high rate of disposal, some cases in that Court might be very old and moving at a very slow pace, compared to the bulk of the case load, which may be simpler and moving at a much faster rate. Since the overall rate of disposal averages out the rate of disposal of specific types of cases, a high overall rate of disposal may mask the fact that some cases such are stagnating for long periods within such a Court. Therefore, even if some Courts have a very high rate of disposal, the High Court should not re-allocate judicial resources in those Courts, without first determining how current their case loads are.
d. Relatedly, even though the general picture that emerges lets system know how much extra judicial time is required to clear up the backlog and prevent the system from getting backlogged in the near future, the Rate of Disposal Method does not tell anything about how judicial time and effort should be spent so as to cater to the needs of the socially and legally marginalized who are often likely to need more judicial resources in order to meet their basic legal needs. The method does not provide a way to tailor judicial resource allocation based on the different needs of different groups. It treats all cases as similar from the point of view of delay reduction regardless of the nature of the right being asserted or the person making the assertion. Therefore, High Courts should provide guidelines to Subordinate Courts to ensure that older or more complex or more priority cases (for example, those relating to sexual violence) do not stagnate in the system.
e. Finally, even if judges of a particular category are disposing of cases at a high rate, this indicates nothing about the quality of decision-making of such judges. The focus of the method is on the quantitative output without compromising the current qualitative standard. However, there might be trade-offs involved between the quantity and the quality of decision-making that the model does not take into account. If some judges are actually compromising on the quality of decision-making and are thus being able to dispose of more cases, the model will recommend a lesser number of additional judges, compared to the additional judges that would be required to dispose of the same number of cases in a more qualitatively sound manner. The Commission, therefore, recommends that in allocating the additional judicial resources, High Courts should pay heed to the quality of decision making in the Courts concerned.
In sum, therefore, the rate of Disposal Method described in this report should be seen as giving an approximation of required judicial strength that can then be adjusted and allocated on the basis of other considerations, which can include, but are not limited to:
(1) adjustments made for inaccuracies in available data; (2) a particularly large number of cases that have been pending for an excessive period of time which may indicate a need for more judicial resources and (3) relevant feedback about pendency and judicial functioning in the State and particular districts from stakeholders.
6. Timely filling of vacancies; increase in age of retirement of the Subordinate Judiciary: As Table XIII indicates, most High Courts have a high vacancy in Subordinate Courts. Additionally, every year many vacancies are created through retirement. It takes time to select and train new judges to replace the retiring ones. In the meantime, the backlog piles up. To deal with this concern, the Commission recommends that in addition to recruiting new judges, the age of retirement of subordinate judges be raised to 62 in order to meet the need for a large number of adequately trained judicial officers. The benefit of increase in the retirement age can be made available to judicial officers in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court in All
India Judges’ Association v. Union of India.40 Further, the directions of the Supreme
Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan v. U.P. Public Service Commission,41 regarding the time bound filling of vacancies, needs to be strictly adhered to.
7. Need for system wide judicial reforms: From a litigant’s point of view, what matters is not just the timely disposal of his/her case at the trial Court level, but at all levels of the judiciary. Therefore, judicial reform targeted at delay reduction is required not only in the trial Court, but throughout the judicial system. In particular,
a. If the number of judges in the trial Courts increases significantly the number of cases being disposed of by the trial Courts will rise sharply. The total number of cases being appealed to the High Courts will also increase. The case load of High Courts will, therefore, increase. If a corresponding increase is not made in the judge strength at the High Court level, the system as a whole is likely to remain backlogged.
Data obtained from the Supreme Court publication Court News shows that High Courts are already backlogged and are not being able to keep pace with new filings. The recent annual data from Court News is for the time period 01.10.2011 to 30.9.2012. In this time period, though 1909543 fresh institutions were made in High Courts, only 1764607 matters were disposed of. The backlog, therefore, increased by 144936. On average, in this time period, High Court judges disposed of 2821.07 cases per judge. As of 30.9.2012, 4407861 matters were pending before all the High Courts. At the current rate of disposal, High Courts require an additional 56 judges to breakeven and an additional 942 judges to clear the backlog. It is relevant to note here that the sanctioned strength of the High Courts is 895. As on 31.12.2012, 31.4% of these positions were vacant. Therefore, there is already a massive shortage of judges in the High Courts. The increase of judge strength in the Lower Judiciary is likely to further exacerbate the problem.
b. Without adequate infrastructure or support staff, an increase in judge strength will not be effective as a delay reduction strategy. A systemic perspective, encompassing all levels of the judicial hierarchy, is, therefore, needed for meaningful judicial reform.
c. Other approaches like encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, where appropriate, can divert cases outside the Court system and lead to an overall reduction in pendency in the judicial system.42 Therefore, a piecemeal approach to delay reduction should be eschewed in favour of a systemic perspective.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In conclusion, it would not be wrong to say that at general level and in nutshell, the present report in a way deals with the issue of arrears and delay and problem of judicial (wo)manpower planning - a problem that for quite many years remained ignored. Undermining this, the Law Commission, in its 120th Report: “Manpower Planning in Judiciary: A Blue Print” had observed, “The Commission was of the view that the question of judicial manpower planning had generally been ignored in India’s planned development. The developing science of manpower planning has not attracted the attention of policy opinion makers in the field of administration of justice in India. All reorganization proposals are basically patch work, ad-hoc, unsystematic solutions to the problem”. Importantly, the report, while confessing its limitations and inability said: “Commission itself is in no position, given the fact of its present structure, to provide this kind of technical analysis only on which sound programme of change can be envisaged. Of course, the Commission has done the next best thing and elicited extensive opinion of those knowledgeable in the field and the general public. But we must admit that, all said and done, this is a very poor substitute for sound scientific analysis.” The Commission, thus, while being expressly conscious of limitations inherent in suggesting any scientific method to deal with problem of arrears and delay relied on the judge population ratio method as a way for judicial manpower planning. In making such suggestion, the Commission was inspired by prevalence of such method in few other countries. The Commission in its report recommended that there was strong justification to increase the then existing ratio from 10.5 judges per million to at least 50 judges per million of Indian population. Thus, it is primarily because of non-availability of data and their scientific analysis, that the Commission simply adopted the simple approach of Judge-Population Ratio. In fact, the report had no occasion to analyse strengths, weaknesses and relevance of adopting Judge-Population Ratio method in Indian context especially the context that has its own peculiarities different in many respects from the systems where Judge-Population Ratio method prevail.
No doubt, in recent years, the issue of arrears and delay and problem of Judicial (wo)man power planning has attracted attention of almost all major stakeholders including the judiciary, executive, media, policy makers, and public in general. However, despite this spurt of rising attention, it is largely due to the dearth of any uniform and scientific approach to data collection and its analysis that arriving at more scientific and futuristic suggestions with regard to judicial (wo)manpower planning to deal with issue of arrears and delay still remains a challenge.
However, the present report, while fully realises the frustration expressed by the Commission and consequent failure in making deeper analysis of the problem when submitting 120th Report, is an attempt to deal with the problem somewhat more analytically and scientifically. As the Commission, in the process of preparing the present report and response submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court adopted every possible venue and opportunity that could be thought of for collecting data including through questionnaires and personal interviews and subjecting information thus collected to rigorous analysis adopting various tools of data analysis available in the domain of research methodology.
Analysis of data and information thus made was then examined in light of various methods of judicial (wo)manpower planning practised in many other systems while keeping in view peculiarities of Indian judicial and profession’s culture. Adopting this approach, the Commission has finally arrived at making following suggestions and recommendations:
Rate of Disposal Method
That, given the existing availability of data, the Rate of Disposal Method and formulae be followed for calculating adequate judge strength for Subordinate Courts, instead of Judge-Population or Judge-Institution Ratio, Ideal Case Load Method or the Time Based Method.
Number of judges to be appointed on a priority basis
That, data obtained from High Courts indicates that the judicial system is severely backlogged, and is also not being able to keep pace with current filings, thus exacerbating the problem of backlogs. The system requires a massive influx of judicial resources in order to dispose of the backlog and keep pace with current filings. The data indicates the need for taking urgent measures for increasing judge strength in order to ensure timely justice and facilitate access to justice for all sections of society.
That, as per the resolution of the Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, the resolution of the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Conference, 2013, and public addresses of the Prime Minister and the Law Minister, the current judge strength is being doubled over the next five years. Given the large number of judges required to clear backlog and the time that it will take to complete selection and training processes and to create adequate infrastructure, the Law Commission recommends that the recruitment of new judges should focus, as a matter of priority, on the number of judges required to breakeven and to dispose of the backlog, in a 3 year time frame.43
Increasing the age of retirement of Subordinate Court Judges
That, in order to meet the need for a large number of appropriately trained Subordinate Court Judges, the age of retirement of Subordinate judges be raised to 62 The benefit of increase in the retirement age be made available to judicial officers in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Association v. Union of India.44
Creation of Special Courts for Traffic/Police Challan Cases
That special morning and evening Courts be set up for dealing with Traffic/Police Challan cases which constituted 38.7% of institutions and 37.4% of all pending cases in the last three years, before the Subordinate Judicial Services. These Courts should be in addition to the regular Courts so that they can reduce the case load of the regular Courts. In addition, facilities be made available for online payment of fines as well as the payment of fines at designated counters in the Court complex. This measure will further reduce pendency before such Special Courts. Recent law graduates may be appointed for short durations, e.g., 3 years, to preside over these special traffic Courts. These special Courts should only deal with cases involving fines. Cases which may involve imprisonment should be tried before regular Courts in order to ensure fair process.
That, if Special Traffic/Police Challan Courts are not created, the number of judges required in the regular cadres should be further increased to take into account traffic and police challan cases.
Provision for Staff and Infrastructure
That, adequate provisions be made for staff and infrastructure required for the working of additional Courts.
Periodic Needs Assessment by High Courts
That the present work is based on analysis of institution, disposal and pendency figures upto 2012. Needless to say, over time these figures are likely to change, affecting the requirement for additional Courts to keep pace with filings and disposals. The Law Commission does not have sufficient information to predict by how much institution is likely to vary in the coming years.46 Therefore, the High Courts may be required to carry out Periodic Judicial Needs Assessment to monitor the rate of institution and disposal and revise the judge strength periodically, based on institutions, disposals, pendency and vacancy, using the formula given above.
That, in the light of revelation before the Commission about the lack of uniformity in data collection and concerns with the quality of data recorded and provided by High Courts, the Commission strongly recommends that High Courts be directed to evolve uniform data collection and data management methods in order to ensure transparency and to facilitate data based policy prescriptions for the judicial system.
Need for system-wide Reform
That a systemic perspective, encompassing all levels of the judicial hierarchy, is needed for meaningful judicial reform. Taking measures for the timely disposal of cases at all levels of the judicial system, including by monitoring and increasing judge strength throughout the system; encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods, where appropriate and more efficient allocation and utilization of resources is required to fulfill the goal of providing timely justice to litigants. In particular, the Commission emphasizes the urgent need to increase judge strength in High Courts to ensure that appeals/revisions from additional cases disposed of by the newly created Subordinate Courts, are dealt with in a timely manner, and that the already heavy backlog in the High Courts is adequately addressed. Therefore, a piecemeal approach to delay reduction should be eschewed in favour of a systemic perspective.
That, as the Supreme Court recognized in its order in Imtiyaz Ahmad dated February 1, 2012, the creation of additional Courts is one amongst various measures required to ensure timely justice and facilitate access to justice. The Commission recognizes that apart from increasing judge strength, many other measures have to be undertaken for reducing delays, including the application of good judicial management practices such as putting into place timeliness and performance benchmarks. As discussed earlier in this report, the Commission emphasizes the need for establishing, based on rational criteria, non-mandatory time frames for the resolution of different types of cases.48 Unless judges and litigants have clear expectations of how soon their cases are likely to resolved, there will be little accountability for delays, and systemic problems are likely to increase. Therefore, the Commission seeks to highlight an urgent need to fix rational, non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases, and use such time frames as a basis for setting judge performance standards, litigant expectations, and making more robust policy recommendations for the judiciary.
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I have asked the information of the Caste - Sub Caste information of employees recruited in government organisations, but CPIO/ FAA/ CIC has denied the request by stating that the following request is exempted from disclosure as no larger interest is established and it’s a third party information which cannot be disclosed under section 8 (J).
Kindly give some references of CIC / High Court / Supreme Court Case Numbers for the same query by which I can pursue my case forward to High Court and I can get Caste -Sub Caste information of Government employees.
I have lodged numerous RTI applications all by Speed Post. Today I find myself in a tricky position where I don't know what my next Step Should be.
I had posted an RTI application to the Revenue Department PIO/SDM of Delhi which was mysteriously returned, with no comments.
I have lodged a Complaint with the Chief Postmaster General, Delhi & have
kept that envelope intact.
Again I sent the same RTI application to the PIO/SDM by Speed Post. It appears I will face the same fate, as the comment on the Speed Post Online is saying;
"ITEM DELIVERY ATTEMPTED, DOOR LOCKED-INTIMATION SERVED".
If it actually gets returned, What Should My next Step be.
Can I complain to the CIC? Or What shall I do? HELP!!
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Re: Failure of Non Updating New Delhi Municipal Council website
Quote Originally Posted by vkgarg
Under the provisions of section 4(1)© required to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affects public;
(d) provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons
Since NDMC in persuance of council resolution no.21(H-03)dated 22.7.2009 followed by another resolution in council meeting no.1/2013-14 dated 26.02.2014, the DTL pay scales have been granted to all left out categories of employees of NDMC wet 01.04.1998 as per Supreme court orders.
Accordingly process for fixing the revised pay scales of the left out categories by issuing the office order no.Inch.Cell/13/HA Dr.26.2.14.
The above details regarding the releasing the payment to its employees are not available nor any representation being replied for from last 3 year's.nor publish on NDMC website
May please advise some action?
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I want to file an RTI in my department regarding rules on TA/DA bill produced during joining at a new place on transfer. I want to ask the following information as stated, please guide me through this.
Please supply me the following information with respect on request transfer of an employee from a Hard/ Very Hard/ NER station.
1. Please provide me with the information, if there are any set of guidelines regarding the transport of luggage during one’s joining at a station.
2. Please provide me the information whether an employee, on joining at a normal station has to produce Toll slips/bills.
3. If yes, then let me be provided with the certified copies of Rules, Regulations, Circulars, Policy, Office Memorandum, Instructions, or any such other document.
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You can ask me to check a point or case law from any of these books by messaging me at RTI India Forum. Please give me at least 2-3 weeks time to get back as I would be away from their location at times. This is a free service offered by me.
1. RTI Use & Abuse - Prof. Madabhushi Sridhar; First Edition, 2015; Allahabad Law Agency; ISBN: 978-93-81587-11-9.
2. Tilting the Balance of Power - Second Edition Jan 2017; RaaG SNS and Rajpal & Sons; ISBN: 9789350643921.
3. RTI ACT - Sailesh Gandhi & Pralhad Kachare; First Printing 2016; Vakils, Feffer and Simons Pvt. Ltd.; ISBN: 978-81-8462-139-6.
4. Right to Information Various Dimensions - Dr. Manish Kumar Chaubey; 2013; Regal Publications; ISBN: 978-81-8484-175-6.
5. Swamy's Compilation on Right to Information - Muthuswamy, Brinda, Sanjeev; Fourth Edition 2016; Swamy Publishers (P) Ltd.
6. RTI dimension of the Criminal Justice - Prof. M Sridhar Acharyulu; 2017; Kantamneni Ravindra Rao Memorial Foundation. Lecture -2 on 22.01.2017.
7. Right to Information Law and Practice - Justice Rajesh Tandon; 2016; LexisNexis; ISBN: 978-93-5143-745-1
8. (Telugu) సమాచార విఙ్ఞాన దీపిక - డాక్టర్ చెన్నుపాటి దివాకర్ బాబు; 2nd Edition, 2015; దక్కన్ లా హౌస్.
9. (Telugu) సమాచార హక్కు అవినీతిపై బ్రహ్మాస్త్రం - శ్రీనివాస్ మాధవ్; పునర్ముద్రణ 2011; ఏసియా లా హౌస్.
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Our Chairman and secretary calls committee meeting every time during night time at 9.00 p.m. My wife is the only female office bearer in the committee.
Many a time she has told not to conduct the committee meeting during night time as she feels inconvenient and uncomfortable, but they always keep the meeting on week days during night time at 9.00p.m.
Sir, please let me know what she should do?
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I wish a Happy Independence Day to my entire country mate. On the eve of Independence Day, I dedicate this Blog to all serving and retired defence Personnel and their family and to all martyrs those dedicated their life for Independence of Mother India.
Though welfare of the ex-Servicemen (ESM) and their dependents is the joint responsibility of the Centre and the States/UTs, however, majority of the problems have to be resolved only by the States/UTs. As like the Kendriya Sainik Board at the Centre, there are 32 Rajya Sainik Boards in the country to assist the State Governments in this regard. There are Zila Sainik Boards at District level in State . The Rajya and Zila Sainik Boards at the State and District level respectively are advisory bodies in respect of policy formulation with regard to resettlement and welfare of their ex-Servicemen/families.
This Blog contains the detail about concessions and benefits extended by state Govts/UTs to retired and serving Defence personnel and their family. The details given by various states are provided in .pdf format respectively.
For other benefit details visit following website : Directorate General Resettlement
1. For details of time to time revision and updation of policy , rules and regulations visit Kendriya Sainik Board or concerned Rajya or Zila Sainik Board .
2. For download of attached .pdf files individual has to register and Log in.
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Sir, myself varun
I want to know the questions ask to thermal plant SE as he was very poor records.
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Take the example of TN. I filed an RTI in the month of August 2016. Then so many twists and turn in the state with the death of the then CM till now no one actually accepts there is a govt running.. even i asked PIO to return my application along with attachments but so far no good. Can I go to justice? please advise..
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I had sought some key information from the PIO, total 8 RTI's but the PIO never bothered to reply. I filed first appeal, thereafter second appeal and complaint to the information commission. It is now almost 21 months now, the case has come for hearing at information commission. In the meantime, the PIO was transferred and new PIO has joined the post. I had approached the new PIO to receive the pending RTI information. But the new PIO (present one) ignored me and said i am helpless and deffered from helping me by providing the information.
Now presently, the information commission has summoned the present PIO for enquiry of the case. In response, the PIO has summoned me. Enquiring what information i had asked, the information which i have asked is not present with them fully as some of the vital records are missing with them. The PIO is trying to provide some half baked information to me and avoid attending the commission enquiry on these 8 cases. So what should i do now?
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Sent RTI application to P.I.O commissioner Patiala, mini secretariat, Patiala
for information regarding date of registration of power of attorney.
PIO replied as the information is more than 20yrs old so that can not be supplied.
copy of reply attached in punjabi.
please guide under RTI act any ruling that old record information more than
20yrs can not be supplied.
Any judgement regarding this.
p k gupta
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Bombay HC upholds CIC order directing UoI to furnish BARC employee's annual appraisal report
For those of the members who do not find time to open the link and go through, relevant extract:
The bench of Justice RM Savant and Justice SS Jadhav examined Section 8(1)(a) of the said Act and noted:“It is well settled that the process of appraising an employee’s performance and communicating the same is with a view to give an opportunity to the employee to correct himself or improve himself and also to enable him to take recourse against the adverse remarks which are appearing in his confidential reports.
Therefore, after going through the masked (hidden) portion of the APAR, the court observed: “We do not find anything in the report of the Reporting Officer to be sensitive or which could prejudicially affect the scientific or economic interest of the...
Read more at: Bombay HC Upholds CIC Order Directing UoI To Furnish BARC Employee’s Annual Appraisal Report | Live Law
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In 2008 release of adhoc promotion was given to me as per the Judgement in Writ no. 1614 of 2008 and I was given the copy of the note approved by CMD as information sought under RTI. Now on getting acquitted in 2014 the Bank did not release the promotion held in sealed cover since 1993 as per the set procedure which was against the judgment of 2008. This forced me to file a Contempt of Court writ in October, 2015 which is pending for hearing. Threatened by the said Writ, the Bank released the promotion in 2017 . AsIi feel it has not followed the set procedure while doing so, as well as not addressed my demand for further promotions denied to me I had filed a query under RTI as under and got the reply as mentioned. As i feel it is wrong I want to submit my first appeal. Kindly help me in drafting the same.
I have been informed vide letter dated 03.02.2017 that I have been considered for promotion to MMG Scale II. In this regard please let me have the following information/document.
01. The designation of the authority who have approved the release of the said promotion.
02. The date of the note put up to the said authority.
03. The date on which the said note was approved.
04. Please let me have the copy of the said note as approved by the authority.
The applicant was informed vide letter bearing no. DB/HRM/Legal/HC/665/706/2017 dated 03.02.2017 that in compliance of the order dated 01.10.2008 passed in the writ petition no. 1614 of 2008 filed by the applicant against the Bank, before the HonÂ’ble High Court of Mumbai, the competent authority has considered his promotion to MMG Scale II , w.e.f 12.04.1993 and sanctioned the arrears of saary and allowance w.e.f 12.04.1993 till date of his retirement 31.03.2010.
The other details are confidential in nature and can not be parted with the applicant.
Further, in the case of Dr.K.C.Vijayakumaran Vs. Department of Post, being an employee of the respondent, is a part of the information provider. Under the RTI act, the employees are not expected to question the decision in the barb of seeking information.
In the instant case , the applicant is an ex-employee of the Bank. The extract of the the judgement passed by CIC is attached herewith.
I am unable to get the conditions prescribed by GoI and GoTamil Nadu to declare a person is economically backward. There is Below poverty line crieteria fixed by the State and Central Govt. TN state issues caste certificate and income certificate through online application. Filing RTI ad general represenation did not give any result. Can any one help to get the conditions and money income for economically backward by GoI and other states ?
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Thank You G.L.N Prasad and Raveena Madam for the initial support.
I highly appreciate it!!!
Railway board has officially declared that in the case of spouse ground (and others), 5 years service period is not mandatory.
Although, I had not received the RTI reply till now.
Thanks alot RTI India forum.
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The proposed amendments are unfortunate and its implementation is like scrapping the Act. However, I analyze the proposal in the following manner:
Refer to Section 4 Limitation of one subject is ok but confining it to 250 words is practically not possible. There should be no word limit. It is not an essay writing competition.
Refer to Section 5 © Actual cost is a vague topic. It opens the scope for PIO to provide misleading information.(h) Speed post costs minimum Rs 25/- therfore every time postal cost will exceed Rs.10/ and PIO will demand Rs.15 from the applicant. There is no need to add this sub-section. PIO must be asked to provide information through e mail if the applicant demands. It will save money and time.
The proposed amendment is silent upon the punishment of PIO if he does not reply or provide misleading information. Earlier pattern of punishment is insufficient. I suggest to increase the amount of Rs 25000/ and adverse entry must be made in the ACR of concerned PIO responsible for not replying or giving incomplete/misleading information.
In addition to IPO, the fees should be allowed to pay through postal stamps. It will be easy for public and money will go to the government.
The amendment is silent upon the harassment of RTI users. The govt. must bring the provision to protect the RTI users.
Private schools irrespective of getting govt. funds should be brought under RTI.
I will write after studying a little more. Please write your comments till then.
It was noticed that many of our members want to help others in the forum. To ease this, we have introduced a new feature from the top menu called 'Unanswered Threads' as seen below
You can search for unanswered threads which has been posted from your last visit, or at all time or by filtering through specific time like last one day, last 7 days etc. Once you click one of the menu, it shall present to you the threads and questions which have been posted but not yet replied.
But be fast, as other members may have already grabbed the opportunity to respond. Once the thread has been responded, then obviously you shall not see that thread / post in the results here.
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It has been a great experience for me to join here the world of RTI India. I had been member of RTI India from september 2006, but never came back back to see what was happening here from the past 1 or more year.
But to my surprise this community has grown leaps and bounds, which I had never imagined. It is not just the success of RTI India team but that of Right to Information.
I thank RTI India team for accepting me as member of the RTI India Community Builder and I am sure I would make extra efforts in nurturing this community for long.
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