New System to Tackle Contempt Cases

As many as 20,000 contempt of court petitions pending against State government officials in the Madras HC and its Madurai Bench

Published: 24th April 2016 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2016 05:54 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: In a bid to cut down the huge backlog of court cases as well as contempt of court proceedings against several State departments and officials pending before the Madras High Court and Madurai bench, the State government is in the process of introducing a new mechanism to reduce such cases across the State. The Tamil Nadu government is working on developing a Court Case Monitoring System (CCMS), an IT application platform, which will monitor cases pending against the concerned departments or officials.

The setting up of such a system comes in the wake of more than 20,000 contempt of court petitions pending against State government officials in the Madras High Court and the Madurai bench between the year 2010 to February 16, 2014.

Such a system is being tried out initially at the Secretariat level in the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms and will soon be extended to other departments, sources revealed to the Express.

It is also learnt that efforts are being taken to extend the Court Case Monitoring System to the level of the heads of departments and districts. Already letters are being dispatched to secretaries seeking content-requirement that such an IT application will need to have.

Sources reveal that P Madhusudhan Reddy, joint commissioner of land administration has been nominated as the coordinator to assist National Informatics Centre (NIC) in the completion of the IT application.

Madras High Court has 12,527 contempt of court case petitions pending, while the Madurai Bench has a total of 8,475 petitions pending between the year 2010 to February 16, 2014, Madras HC Deputy Registrar (administration) said in response to a RTI request.

The Housing department reportedly has the highest number of court cases piled-up as it pertains to land acquisition, allotments, slums etc. It is learnt the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority alone has 2,074 pending cases as of 2012 as per the audit report.

With CMDA facing numerous cases pertaining to planning permission and lock-and-seal cases and cases pertaining to service rules, this number is likely to rise. Even the High court appointed monitoring committee has sued the planning body for not implementing the High court order.

Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopal said the new system would help expedite cases as delays mainly stem from the fact that most court orders do not reach the officials. “These cases are filed against individuals and because they may belong to different departments, the order gets stuck in rotation or it just does not reach them. This system will help the government at least keep track of the cases,” said Rajagopal.

While the system is applauded by some, retired Justice K Chandru felt that most of the contempt cases are frivolous. At least 18,000 would be eligible for dismissal at the admission stage.

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