TAMIL NADU

1,000 more fast track courts coming: Jana Krishnamurthi

CHENNAI OCT. 5. The Centre is planning to institute 1,000 more fast track courts, and all Chief Ministers as well as Chief Justices of High Courts have been informed, the Union Minister for Law and Justice, K. Jana Krishnamurthi, said here today.

The 800 FTCs established earlier this year disposed of more than 65,000 pending criminal cases. There would be a marked improvement in criminal case disposals if the proposed FTCs were formed. He was inaugurating a workshop on the proposed amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Mr. Krishnamurthi also noted that more than two lakh remand and undertrial prisoners had been languishing in jail throughout the country for want of speedy trial. It was not proper to allow a fellow citizen to continue to remain so.

On the importance of the alternative dispute redressal mechanism, he said that as about 70 per cent of the pending civil cases pertained to questions of facts and not of the law, arbitration could play a major role in reducing pendency. ``If we improve the Arbitration Act and see that all questions of facts go arbitration boards, civil courts can be decongested to a large extent''.

The Minister suggested that the services of retired district judges be utilised for arbitration. Drafting them as members of district-level arbitration boards would lend more credibility to the alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

Justice Sri Krishna, of the Supreme Court said the alternative dispute resolution mechanism was a conceptually sound idea, but would be difficult to institutionalise in cases in which the Government or public sector undertakings were parties. They were reluctant to accept the `informal dispute resolution'.

However, the Law Commission must apply its mind, identify source flaws and consider the suggested solution.

Justice M. Jagannadha Rao, Chairman of the Law Commission said its 200-page report containing several amendment proposals had been placed before Parliament. The suggestions made at the workshop should be forwarded to the commission for perusal.

The Madras High Court Chief Justice, B. Subhashan Reddy, said the workshop had been aptly timed as its suggestions could be analysed in the light of the Law Commission proposals pending with the Government.

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