District Judges’ Conference, 2022

After a gap of nine years, the District Judges’ Conference was held by the High Court of Orissa in 2022. The two-and-half days conference was held at the Odisha Judicial Academy, Cuttack. It was inaugurated in the evening of 25th February, 2022 by Dr. S. Muralidhar, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Orissa in presence of the sitting and former Judges of the High Court. It ended on 27th February. The Annual Report 2021 published after a gap of six years by the High Court of Orissa, was released in the inaugural function of the Conference.

Interaction with the Presiding Officers of Tribunals, Commissioner of Endowments, Special Judges (Vigilance) and Judges of Family Courts in virtual mode

On 22nd and 23rd February, 2022 interactions were held with the Presiding Officers of Tribunals, Commissioner of Endowments, Wakf Board, Special Judges (Vigilance) and Judges of Family Courts in virtual mode. Issues relating to their functioning were discussed. They were advised to ensure speedy disposal of cases and to apply the principle laid down in Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency Pvt Ltd & Another v. Central Bureau of Investigation in (2018) 16 SCC 299 of 2013 in appropriate cases. The Judges of Family Courts were advised to resort to conciliation, closely monitor the functioning of counselors and hold frequent interactions with them. They were also advised to take the help of DLSAs for mediation and conciliation among the parties.

The Conference

The 30 District Judges and 30 Chief Judicial Magistrates participated in the Conference from 25th to 27th February, 2022. Various issues relating to judicial administration were discussed. The broad heads of issues discussed in the conference and the resolutions adopted are indicated below.

Rationalization of distribution of cases

Conferment of cognizance power

Distribution of case records

Utilization of leave reserve Magistrates

Striking a balance of cases between GR file and Trial file

Creating awareness on videoconferencing facility

Optimum use of officers and staff in the cease work period

Fulfillment of the logistic and other requirements of the officers and staff

Role of Court Managers in timely submission of statements/statistics

Issues relating to Juvenile Justice Board

Requirement of a designated judge to exclusively act as PM, JJB

Pendency and low disposal by JJBs and quarterly review by District Judges

Shifting of CICLs to the place of safety

Infrastructure

Alienation of lands and fencing of alienated sites to prevent encroachment

Selection of executing agency and model standard of plans and estimates and monitoring of construction works for ensuring quality and timely completion.

Dedicated agency for execution of construction projects.

Upkeep and cleaning of court buildings

Security and safety of court buildings and judicial officers

Residential quarters for judicial officers and staff

Maintenance and upkeep of Court Malkhanas

Maintenance and upkeep if District Court Record Rooms

Pendency and disposal of 25 and 40 years old cases

Pendency and disposal of year old civil cases with special reference to cases more than 25-40 years old, final decree proceedings and execution cases.

Pendency and disposal of year old criminal cases with special reference to cases more than 25/40 years old.

Non-execution of warrants and nonrealization of fines and reasons of like nature leading to delay in disposal of cases.

Rules

Renaming of Sections/Departments/ Posts in District Courts viz. Nizarat, English office, Sheristadar, Toilet, Duftary, Hazat, Malkhana etc.

Dealing with unused question papers and used answer sheets etc. of the District Court’s recruitment process.

Incorporation of provision in GR & CO for dealing with unidentified seized items.

Incorporation/modification in G.R. & C.O. for revamping the method and modalities of destruction of disposed of case records in District Court Record Room on the lines of the High Court of Orissa Rules.

Incorporation/Modification of provision in G.R. & C.O. for laying down the methods and modalities of issue and service of processes especially on official witnesses through email.

Declaration of SPIO in the Subordinate Courts by amending Orissa High Court RTI Rules, 2005.

Provisions for destruction of case records by shredding instead of burning.

SOP for preservation of digital photographs and videos of seized vehicles and NDPS items.

Dealing with multiplicity of case nos. arising after implementation of ICJS (Interoperable Criminal Justice System)- doing away with system of allotting G.R. No. to Criminal cases prior to receipt of charge sheets and not showing the said cases in pendency till allotment of GR number.

Inspection

Timeline of notes of inspection

Timeline of compliance

Days to be devoted by the District Judges for inspection

Days to be devoted by the Chief Judicial Magistrates for inspection

Maintenance of registers by PM, JJB

New register for entry of compensation amount in NI Act cases.

Insertion of one new column in R-8 (Witness register) for witnesses examined through video conferencing

Information and Communication Technology

1.Video Conferencing in Court proceedings

a.Power Supply with back-up facility.

b.The recording of Court proceedings conducted through VC should be stored in cloud besides local server.

c.VC Cabin in Jails and observation homes in remote places

d.Use of digital signature pads to reduce the loss of time in three deposition sets.

e.Dedicated VC Platform by Government to avoid additional cost for licenses, etc.

f. Proper training for Remote point coordinators along with Court point Coordinators.

g.Increasing number of Virtual Courtrooms.

2.Digitization of disposed of case records in District Courts

a. Addressing Space requirement for District Court Digitization Centres (DCDC)

b.Resolving shortage of manpower required for verification of scanned case records.

c.Addressing the difficulty in identifying case records for digitization.

d.Devising means for preservation of electronic records which form part of disposed of case records identified for digitization.

Implementation and usage of e-filing module of e-Committee, Supreme Court of India in District and Subordinate Courts.

Usage of Computers in performance of dayto-day official work

Status of MPLS connectivity and Internet connectivity in Courts

Accessing National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) on regular basis for effective Court Management & Addressing discrepancy between case statistics as per physical record and statistics shown in NJDG

Commencing Paperless Court system in District and Subordinate Courts.

Dealing with e-Waste

Rape cases and cases under POCSO Act

Concerns were raised over the alarming rise in rape cases and cases under POCSO Act and delay in disposed of those cases. It was resolved that such cases would be given priority and in view of the availability of virtual courtroom facility in the District Courts of Angul, Bhadrak, Nayagarh and Malkangiri, those districts were selected as the pilot districts to fast track the disposed of such cases. Accordingly, guidelines were issued for the Court, the police and the prosecution.