13. Judicial Training & Education - Status, Needs, Organization & Strategies
13.1.1 After a long period of relative neglect
and low priority, judicial education holds out the promise of organized action
in the coming years at the hands of the authorities in
"One of the claims advanced before us was
for provision of inservice training for judicial officers. This we consider as a
must ... We are of the view that inservice institutes are indispensable for the
upkeep of the efficiency of judicial service. We direct that an All India
Institute of Inservice Training for higher officers of the judiciary including
the District Judges and a State level institute for training of the other
members of the subordinate judiciary within each of the States and Union
Territories or one common institute for more than one State or Union Territory should
be set up within one year from now and at any rate not later than December 31,
1992. This has to be organized by respective High Courts" (emphasis
It is refreshing to note that claim for
in-service training came as a demand from the judicial officers themselves in
their petition before the Supreme Court. They must have experienced how the lack
of such training affected their capacity to perform better in their judicial and
13.1.2 The Supreme Court did consider the item
as a priority issue and mandated the setting up of two sets of judicial training
institutions - one for higher judicial officers including the District Judges at
the all India level and another for State/Union Territory at the State or
regional levels - by the end of 1992 and imposed the organizational
responsibility on the High Courts. Six years later, the scheme has not taken off
from the drawing board stage. Hopefully, the High Courts which have been given
the responsibility will now act on the basis of the Report of the National
Judicial Pay Commission and ensure that the institutes are in place at least in
beginning of the next millenium which incidentally is just two years away.
Law Commission Recommendations :
13.1.3 The need for raising the competency of judicial officers for better performance of the judicial system was highlighted by several reports of the Law Commission of India beginning with the Fourteenth Report (Reform of Judicial Administration, Volume I, Chaper-9, Subordinate Judiciary) in 1958. The report said :
"The problem of efficient judicial administration, whether at the level of the superior courts or the subordinate courts, is largely the problem of finding capable and competent judges and judicial officers. Delays in the disposal of cases and the accumulation of arrears are in a great measure due to the inability of the judicial officers to arrange their work methodically and to appreciate and apply the provisions of the Procedural Codes ... However, well framed the substantive law and carefully designed the procedural law, the proper application and working of these laws lies largely in the hands of the officers presiding over the courts. Even if these laws were perfect, we would need adequately trained and capable judicial officers to apply and administer them. Without such personnel, administration of justice can never be satisfactory". (p.161).
13.1.4 Reiterating the increasing importance of training to judicial officers, the Setalvad Commission report added : "... Not only has the volume and variety of the work increased but the pace at which a munsiff has to perform his duties has quickened. Unless a young officer is given the proper training, he is likely to acquire by reason of his inexperience, un-businesslike habits which he may find it difficult to shed later on and which may prevent him from becoming an efficient judge. A certain amount of training in the administrative work of a court is also essential to a fresh entrant into the service from the Bar, if he is not to be at the mercy of his office clerks" (p.178).
13.1.5 The Fifty-fourth Report of the Law
Commission in 1973 further emphasized the subject and recommended the immediate
setting up of a
"Even at the cost of repetition, we wish to emphasize that the success of any system, and particularly the judicial system depends on the men who work the system...Successful completion of the training should be a condition precedent to confirmation of appointment in the judiciary".
13.1.6 Keeping in mind the changed role of
judges in the independent
13.1.7 It is in the light of the jurisprudential view of the judicial role that judicial training should be organized. "The law is predominantly an instrument of social engineering in which conflicting pulls of political philosophy, economic interests and ethical values struggle for recognition. This struggle has to be viewed against the background of history, tradition and development of legal techniques. A working knowledge of those disciplines is therefore essential". (p. 332-333, 54th Report).
13.1.8 The One Hundred and Seventeenth Report of the Law Commission is devoted entirely to the subject of training of judicial officers (November 1986). The report found, quoting approvingly the comment on the American judicial system by the then Chief Justice of that country, "... In the final third of the century, we are still trying to operate courts with fundamentally the same basic methods, the same procedures and the same machinery which Roscoe Pound found were not good enough" even at the turn of the century a hundred years ago ! As Lord Devlin said of the British Justice System, "If our business methods were as antiquated as our legal system, we would have become a bankrupt nation long back". The Law Commission Report therefore concluded that the "updating of the knowledge and skills can hardly be left to the voluntary effort of individual judges.." It is conceded that training can significantly upgrade the capability of everyone called upon to perform a duty. It is all the more so in the case of judicial officers, because sociology of law is acquiring new and added significance in the development of the society". (p. 2 of 117th Report).
13.1.9 The importance and urgency of pre-service and in-service training for judicial officers have again been reiterated in the 114th Report on Gram Nyayalaya (participatory justice at the grassroot level) and the 116th Report in which the Commission recommended the scheme for an all-India Judicial Service.
13.1.10 It is thus beyond doubt that there is an imperative need for organized programme of judicial education and training not only at the time of selection and appointment, but on a continuing basis during service. It is also clear that the primary reason for judicial delays, repeated appeals and legal uncertainties, inter alia, can be traced to the lack of required competence in terms of updated knowledge and skills on the part of judicial officers at several levels of the system. In short, there is no substitute to organized and appropriate training on a continuing basis which requires priority attention in the judicial reform agenda. The occasion of the introduction of all-India Judicial Service should provide the opportunity for a meaningful, nation-wide programme of judicial education to prepare the system to respond to the challenges of the next millenium with competence and confidence.