The law ministry’s proposed right to justice bill will provide for speedy and cost effective trials by laying down a time gap of 60-90 days for inquiry and a three year deadline for completion of court proceedings.
The ministry hopes to present the bill during Parliament’s monsoon session, due to begin in the third week of July. Law Minister Veerappa Moily said, “The right to justice bill will ensure time-bound justice for citizens. Those with an income below a prescribed level will have a right to free legal services. By December 31, 2011, they are hoping to clear 40% pending cases.”
The bill proposes measures like discharge of an accused in a traffic offence of trial is pending for more than two years due to non-service of summons. “In cases of trial of offences compoundable under the Indian Penal Code or any other law in force, pending for more than two years, the court shall discharge the accused if the trial has not commenced and close the case”.
There is also a provision in the bill to get litigation costs in case a person has been jailed for an offence and acquitted later. In such cases the prosecution party has to pay the expenses.
The ministry has been pushing for faster clearance of pendency with the law minister writing to the chief justices of high court in April, urging them to reduce the backlog.