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Q.1 Indian courts’ are well known for pendency of cases. In this context, highlight the reasons for pendency of cases.   How case management system can be useful in reducing the number of pending cases? (GS-2)

Indian court’s are well known for pendency of cases. There are around 59,000 case pending in the Supreme Court(SC), over four million in high courts (HC) and a mind-boggling 25 million in subordinate courts. As of March 2016 Supreme Court contributed almost 60,000 cases to blocklog/pendency India has just 13 judges per million of its population.  While most developed countries have 50 and some even more than 100.

Reasons for pendency of cases:

  • Corruption: There is huge corruption in appointment especially at lower judiciary.
  • Lack of transparency: there is lack of transparency and objective appointment process.
  • Culture of litigation and lack of penetration of alternative dispute redressal mechanism such as arbitration, mediation etc.
  • Frequent transfer of judges: Huge transfer of judges takes the interest out of them to hear the cases that their successor may give judgment to, after the transfer.
  • Poor dispute resolution mechanism.
  • Filing of the frequent government litigation keep the courts busy instead of serving justice to the people speedily.
  • The special leave petition (SLP) which the Constituent Assembly hoped would be used sparingly, but which now dwarfs the work of the Supreme Court.
  • Increasing number of state and central legislations.
  • Appeals against orders of quasi-judicial forums going to high courts
  • Frequent adjournments and indiscriminate use of writ jurisdiction.
  • Expensive and delayed justice: Judicial proceedings are prohibitively expensive, confusing for commoners and delay in justice delivery has denied gainful opportunities for many.
  • Lack of expertise: Judiciary lacks expertise in dealing with new age problems like Corp Tax, Cyber laws, International treaties, Climate change and its conservative attitude is exploited and corrupt go scot free.
  • Proliferation through SLPs: A lot of cases are entertained under article 136, which would otherwise not fall in the criminal/appellate/advisory jurisdictions.
  • Corruption is also an major issue in judicial system as it is any other government department especially in lower courts increasing transparency and accountability corruption can be bought down.
  • Absence of separate Commercial Courts to adjudicate on disputes of civil nature resulting in large number of pending civil suits related to various business and services related disputes in the high courts.

Case Management policy:

  • The case management policy can yield remarkable results in achieving more disposal of the cases.
  • Under this, the court sets a timetable for the case and the judge actively monitors progress.
  • This marks a fundamental shift in the management of cases—the responsibility for which moves from the litigants and their lawyers to the court.
  • The Committee on survey of the progress made in other countries has come to a conclusion that the case management system has yielded exceedingly.
  • Is mandate is for the Judge or an officer of the court to set a time-table and monitor a case from its initiation to its disposal.
  • The Committee on survey of the progress made in other countries has come to a conclusion that the case management system has yielded exceedingly good results.
  • Model Case Flow Management Rules have been separately dealt with for trial courts and first appellate subordinate courts and for High Courts.
  • These draft Rules extensively deal with the various stages of the litigation.
  • The High Courts can examine these Rules, discuss the matter and consider the question of adopting or making case law management and model rules with or without modification, so that a step forward is taken to provide to the litigating public a fair, speedy and inexpensive justice.”
  • Based on the nature of dispute, the quantum of evidence to be recorded and the time likely to be taken for the completion of suit, the suits shall be channeled into different tracks.
  • Track I may include suits for maintenance, divorce and child custody and visitation rights, grant of letters of administration and succession certificate and simple suits for rent and for eviction.
  • Track 2 may consist of money suits and suits based solely on negotiable instruments.
  • Track 3 may include suits concerning partition and like property disputes, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property matters.
  • Track 4 may relate to other matters.
  • All efforts shall be taken to complete the suits in track 1 within a period of 9 months, track 2 within 12 months and suits in track 3 and 4 within 24 months.”
  • There would have to be separate Case flow management rules for high courts, civil cases in subordinate courts and criminal cases in subordinate courts.
  • There are many states for which only civil CFM rules have been passed for subordinate courts.

Q.2 In a recent case in the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) referred to itself as “a toothless tiger”. Why NHRC is called as a toothless tiger? What are the problems being faced by NHRC  in discharging their functions?(GS-2)

In a recent case in the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) referred to itself as “a toothless tiger”.

Why NHRC is called as a toothless tiger?

  •  NHRC has also informed the court that it had no power to act against persons or authorities who did not follow the guidelines laid down by it nor did it have the power to issue directives or pass orders but could only make recommendations.
  • It is because NHRC investigates human rights violation cases, sometimes in remote areas, with very limited resources. The evidence collected is put to forensic judicial adjudication by its chairman and members, who are former judges. But at the end, when NHRC arrives at a finding, it can only recommend remedial measures or direct the state concerned to pay compensation.

Problems being faced by NHRC:

  • Most human rights commissions are functioning with less than the prescribed Members. This limits the capacity of commissions to deal promptly with complaints, especially as all are facing successive increases in the number of complaints.
  • Scarcity of resources is another big problem. Large chunks of the budget of commissions go in office expenses, leaving disproportionately small amounts for other crucial areas such as research and rights awareness programmes.
  • NHRC is deluged with too many complaints. Hence, in recent days, NHRC is finding it difficult to address the increasing number of complaints.
  • As human rights commissions primarily draw their staff from government departments – either on deputation or reemployment after retirement – the internal atmosphere is usually just like any other government office
  •  Strict hierarchies are maintained, which often makes it difficult for complainants to obtain documents or information about the status of their case.

Q.3  Recently India and Philippines signed number of bilateral agreements. What is the significance of  signing these agreements to  a healthy bilateral relationship between two countries?  Explain  how Phillipines is important to India’s growing role in the Southeast Asian region.(GS-2)

India and the Philippines inked four pacts providing for cooperation in a number of areas, including the defence and security, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with President Rodrigo Duterte, covering the entire gamut of bilateral relationship.

Focus areas:

  • Four agreements were signed between the two countries, which covered areas of defence, agriculture, small and medium enterprises and tie-up between think-tanks.
  • President Duterte is also committed to improving the public health system and wants Indian infrastructure companies to pitch in his flagship “build, build and build programme”.
  • Both the sides are interested to have private and public enterprises to cooperate in the defence sector, including on the off-shore patrolling vessels.
  • Modi contributed two Indian rice seed varieties to the gene bank of the international rice research centre in the Philippines which he said is working towards mitigating global poverty and hunger by improving the cultivation of the key grains.
  • Identifying terrorism as a major threat facing the two countries and the region, the two leaders also resolved to expand bilateral cooperation to effectively deal with the challenge.
  • The Philippine’s president asks Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite Indian generic medicine companies to sell their products to the Philippines
  • American branded medicines are much more expensive compared to the generic medicine produced by India.
  • India is the largest provider of generic medicine, accounting for 20% of global exports, based on volume.

Significance of bilateral relationship:

  • The pact on defence cooperation was a significant outcome as it will boost cooperation in various spheres including in the areas of logistics.
  • The other pacts will facilitate deeper cooperation in areas of agriculture and micro and small industries.
  • It will lead to a “robust” relationship with India and particularly sought greater Indian investment in the pharmaceutical sector.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated rice field laboratory named after him International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos in Philippines.
  • India is setting up regional centre of IRRI in Varanasi to develop high-yielding rice varieties to increase farmers’ income by enhancing and supporting rice productivity, reducing cost of production, value addition, diversification and enhancement of farmers’ skills.
  • The MoU provides for cooperation in fields of rice production and processing, dryland farming systems, multi cropping system, bio-organic farming, arming, solid and water conservation and management, soil fertility, agro forestry, sericulture, livestock improvement etc.

“Flood-tolerant rice”

  • Scientists at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, briefed the PM on flood-tolerant rice varieties, which can withstand 14-18 days of submergence and provide 1-3 tonnes more yield per hectare in flood-affected areas.
  • The flood-resistant rice varieties that can withstand 14-18 days of submergence would help farmers and enhance their income.
  • Salinity tolerant rice varieties will help farmers where the soil is saline, for example Kutch.

India-Philippines present relations:

Trade and Commerce:

  • Economic relations have been relatively very slow and uneven to date.
  • Various Joint Working Groups have been set up on Trade and Investment, on agriculture, on Health, on Tourism and on Renewable Energy.
  • India is part of the Regional Economic Comprehensive Negotiations (RCEP) which will contribute to economic integration.
  • India and Philippines are likely to post Asia’s fastest economic growth rates in the coming years as their working age population keeps expanding.

Political social security and Defence:

  • ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit have provided an excellent platform for regular meetings between leaders and from both countries.
  • The Philippines supported India’s candidature for the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the term 2011-12.
  • India sought the support of the Philippines to get membership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
  • Indian navy and coast guard ships continuously visit the Philippines and hold consultation with their counterpart.
  • Training courses in both sides by armed forces intensified.
  • India backed the Philippines in its dispute with China over islands in South China Sea.

Culture:

  • Philippines culture had Indian influence.
  • Both countries have cultural exchange programmes.
  • The Philippines is also emerging as destination point for Indian Students.
  • Many words in Tagalog language is from Sanskrit.

Counter Terrorism:

  • Both the sides have a joint working group on counter-terrorism that meets regularly.
  • India’s growing counter terror cooperation with the Philippines has positive implications for both countries.
  • India’s finance assistance to ($500,000) to the Philippines to fight the Islamic state signals a reworking of its ASEAN outreach.

India’s growing role in the South east region:

India has recently decided to extend financial assistance to the Philippines in its fight against the IS-backed rebel groups in Southern Philippines. This recent engagement with the Philippines is important to India’s growing role in the South-east region in following ways:

Geo-politically:

  • It would create a support group in the region for India’s efforts for the expansion of UNSC .
  • It presents an option to S-E Asian nations to look up to against a bullying China;
  • It would strengthen the leadership role of India to mentor the like-minded nations of S-E Asia on international platform like WTO, UNCTAD, UN etc.
  • It sets into motion an informal endeavor towards a multi-polar world by creating options other than US, Russia and China as a global watchdog
  • It vindicates India’s moral stance against state-sponsored terrorism, radicalisation and religious extremism;

Economically:

  • It would create an amicable view of India in the S-E region to help it in seeking favourable terms of trade, like concessions, under bilateral agreements , FTAs etc
  • It would serve India’s N-E region better with respect to opening of economy and ensuring the security;

Strategic: India has been constantly raising its voice against rising terrorism and radicalism. As the problem has become evident in Philippines, they can join the fight and invite more nations to reach an amicable solution for the problem.

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