Litigation Landscape: Bengaluru Rural

DAKSH and the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Bengaluru have collaborated in producing a report titled “Litigation Landscape of Bengaluru. Series 1: Bengaluru Rural Courts”. The Report is the first in a series aimed at better understanding the litigation landscape of Bengaluru. The objectives of this Report are to: one, understand the structure and functioning of the subordinate judiciary, specifically in the Bengaluru Rural District; and two, propose measures to improve the status quo based on a scientific analysis. The Report also provides stakeholder-wise recommendations to improve the efficiency of these subordinate courts in the short term, medium term, and long term.

As per the findings of the report, land acquisition cases in the Bengaluru Rural district remain pending the longest in court at an average of 6.5 years, far longer than any other category of cases. The report also finds that across all kinds of cases, the stage where most of the cases remain pending for a long time is at the stage of service of notices/summons; to ensure the steady progress of a case without getting stuck at this stage, the report suggests the use of technology to monitor and ensure the timely delivery of notices/summons. Further, it highlights the need for proper case allocation amongst judges in each cadre, as well as pushes for the implementation of the Karnataka Case Flow Management Rules, 2005 to handle case management in the district. Speaking of support structures to aid judicial functioning, the report notes that infrastructure in courts needs improvement and there is an pressing need to ensure timely appointment of administrative staff in the courts as the Bengaluru Rural courts are said to function with a staff deficit of 57.94%; to this end, it suggests that a High Court committee be given the sole power to recruit administrative staff, rather than recruiting them through the lengthy processes of the Karnataka State Civil Services (General Recruitment) Rules, 1977, Karnataka Subordinate Courts (Ministerial and Other Posts) Rules, 1982, etc.

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This report was relased on 2 August 2019 by Justice N. Kumar (Retd., High Court of Karnataka). Ms. Anupama Hebbar (Advocate) and Mr. Ashwin Mahesh (Journalist) also provided their comments on the report.