NEW DELHI: With more than 3.2 crore pending cases in India, the Ministry of Law and Justice is working on the concept of pre-trial conference—which is a trend in countries such as USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and Singapore—so that lengthy litigation would become a thing of the past.
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According to the government’s National Litigation Policy, pre-trial hearing may be of great help in facilitating a settlement of dispute through an amicable compromise between the parties.
In India, the system of pre-trial hearing is not clearly identified as a separate feature of the judicial process, although the Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code contain certain provisions that can be utilised for this purpose.
In pre-trial hearings, litigants and their lawyers hold a pre-scheduled meeting before the trial begins in the presence of a judge of a judicial authority to identify the issues of disputes so that none of the contesting parties can bring in other issues to drag the case by seeking adjournments.
As per the ministry’s proposal, separate courts will hear disputing parties, and will have the option to first narrow down on contentious issues like list of witnesses to be summoned, fixing a time-frame for trial’s conclusion and documents to be examined.
On the basis of issues discussed and agreed upon, trial will be held smoothly and without any unnecessary adjournments.