3 main RAA findings in review of Judiciary

Review of judiciary system and practices was conducted to ascertain the efficiency and effectiveness in delivering fair, just and equitable justices. The report contains three audit findings with 22 sub-findings and 17 recommendations. Despite progressive reforms and improvements made, the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) identified many areas where considerable scope for further improvement exists. Inadequacies persist in legal and institutional framework, human resources, operational areas and case management besides other areas.The report states that the Judiciary had brought several legal and institutional reforms.

Despite such initiatives, the review indicated areas where improvements are desirable as discussed hereunder.The report states that the review finds the prospects of the Judiciary in its current position are very positive. Legal and Institutional Framework needs remedial action. Most of the 11th FYP targets of the judiciary are lying unachieved although plan cycle is nearing to end.

Lawyers do not head the registry section of 15 Dzongkhag courts and 13 Drungkhag court undermining the internal administration of the courts and accessibility of the services.

Case management procedures and practices also require remedial action, states report, adding that there is no standard to assess the performance of the courts, timeframe to dispose the cases, fixed number of summon orders to issue, and fixed number of rebuttals in trials.  The hearing schedules in Dzongkhag and Dungkhag Courts is constantly associated with arbitrary changes based on preferences and convenience of the Bench Clerks, prosecuting agencies, and the litigants. This is hampering the fairness and timely delivery of justice, report added. There is no guarantee that all the judgments of civil cases are effectively enforced. There is no responsible institution to enforce the judgments of civil cases. The Courts do not have mandate to follow-up on their judgments unless aggrieved party moves the court to do so. Thus, ineffectiveness lies in the civil justice system to some extent, report adds.

Information System also requires remedial action whereby the report states that the reliability of case information of the Judiciary, maintained in Case Information System (CIS), is questionable as around 58% of the data contains incorrect and incomplete information and duplicate entries.    There is also significant discrepancy between the data maintained at Supreme Court and data available in individual Courts. This limits making strategic decision through case statistics.

In addition, the recently upgraded Case Management System (CMS) also lacks complete case information. The CMS does not have mechanism to share information with the other stakeholders to have complete information to facilitate adjudication process, says report.

The review therefore recommends the Judiciary to integrate CMS with information systems of other relevant stakeholders to facilitate judicial procedures including registration.

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