New Delhi : Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written to Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to empower the traffic police and executive officers to decide the road traffic violation cases as a measure to unburden the courts clogged with large number of pending cases.
He pointed out that removing these cases from the courts will reduce one-third of their load and cut down the delay in the delivery of justice as 39% of the pending cases in lower courts are related to the traffic violation and even 9% of them are pending in the High Courts.
The law ministry sources said many of the traffic violation cases deal with minor issues like red light jumping, driving without seat belt or helmet, wrong parking, over speeding or driving without licence or pollution certificate and yet the courts have to spend time on them, making it difficult for them to devote time to more important cases.
The proposal envisages the state government designate the officials to compound the petty traffic offences so that they don’t go to courts. Delhi and many other states have already empowered the traffic police for recovering fine on the spot, but the difficulty arises when the person contests his culpability and does not wish to compound the offence as then the matter has to be referred to court for adjudication.
Prasad has written to develop an alternate mechanism for resolution of such cases without knocking the doors of the courts. He has suggested an amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act to specify that the disputes relating to minor or petty traffic offences shall be resolved by senior officials by conferring on them the power of the civil courts and that once resolved, the dispute once compounded by the designated official shall not be allowed to be pursued in appeal in any court.
“Resolution of petty disputes outside the purview of the formal court system will contribute to reduction in pendency that will lead to decongestion of the court system,” says Prasad’d letter to Gadkari. It points out that “the courts shall then no longer be burdened by petty/minor cases which do not usually require any judicial involvement or judicial minds to resolve the dispute.”
The law minister said the National Mission on Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms is looking into the areas of law that are prone to excessive litigation and considering suitable policy and legislative measures to address it. His ministry identified the traffic offences accounting for the highest 39% cases pending in the court as an excessive litigation required to be tackled by providing alternate redressal mechanism.
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