Cabinet gives the nod for ambitious Legal Mission

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved an ambitious programme that would usher in radical legal reforms aimed at, among other goals, disposal of pending cases in three years, from the current average of 15 years, and establishment of an All India Judicial Service.

Known as the “National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms,” it seeks to operationalise a number of plans to ensure expeditious and quality justice. The Centre is committed to spending Rs. 5,510 crore in the next five years for the Mission.

The Mission has been conceived on the basis of a “Vision Document” adopted at the conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices in October 2009. The broad areas under it are: policy and legislative changes, re-engineering of procedures, human resource development, leveraging information technology and improvement of physical infrastructure of subordinate courts.

The Mission would comprise an Advisory Council, a Governing Council, a National Mission Leader and a Mission Directorate. The Advisory Council will advise on the goals, objectives and strategies and an action plan. The Governing Council will facilitate implementation, give policy directions and oversee the work of the Mission. The Mission Directorate will monitor the Mission's various initiatives.

A tentative action plan worked out by the Ministry of Law and Justice focuses on initiatives such as an All India Judicial Service, a Litigation Policy, Judicial Impact Assessment, Amendments to the Negotiable Instruments Act and the Arbitration & Conciliation Act and Legal Education Reforms. It seeks re-engineering of the procedures and alternative methods of dispute resolution such as identification of bottlenecks, procedural changes in court processes, statutory changes to reduce and disincentivise delays, fast tracking of procedures, appointment of court managers and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

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