Administration of Court Records

Author: - Tulip Das

3rd Year BBA LL.B
Amity University, Kolkata

1. INTRODUCTION

There are many workers inside the Court who work for the smooth and efficient day-to-day functioning of the Court process and proceedings. They are the Chief Administrative Officers, Chief Deputy Court Administrator, Court Managers, Registrar, Superintendent, Clerk of Court, etc. They are the backbone of the system and the administrative burden falls on them. All papers of a case, from the stage of filing a case to the supply of a certified copy of the judgement, passes through their hands. They form one of the many hands supporting the Judicial System.

2. DUTIES OF A CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER (CAO)

The post of Chief Administrative Officer is the highest ministerial post in the District Judiciary. He assists the District Judge in all administrative matters as well as recruitment of staff in all the District Courts. Matters like leave, transfer, postings, promotions, departmental enquiries and other service conditions of employees of all the Courts are required to be supervised by him. Besides, he has to keep track of filing of suits, appeals and other litigations and pendency in the District Court and keep the District Judge informed. He is indeed the source for securing Acts, Rules, Notifications, Government Orders and High Court Circulars, required by the Court in judicial and administrative matters. He signs the letters and orders approved by the District Judge and sanctions non-recurring contingent expenditure

3. DUTIES OF A CHIEF DEPUTY COURT ADMINISTRATOR

This position assists the Trial Court Administrator with responsible, highly complex, administrative and supervisory work related to the daily operations of a five-county judicial circuit. The position is responsible for monitoring the performance of various court programs to ensure achievement of their established goals and compliance with court policy and procedures. This position will assist in the ongoing development and management of the following programs: court operations, civil and criminal case management, mediation, county probation, pretrial services, financial and budget services, strategic planning, human resources, information technology, security, facilities management, capital planning, public relations, due process services, and other divisions or staff as may be required. Working relationships are established with judges, court personnel, state and county officials, attorneys, clerks, sheriffs’ offices, and the public. The Chief Deputy Court Administrator must maintain the confidentiality of sensitive issues. This position works under the direction of and is directly responsible to the Trial Court Administrator.

4. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COURT MANAGERS

The Court Manager is entrusted with the following responsibilities: –

  • Policy and Standards: Based on applicable directives of superior courts, they establish the performance norms applicable to the Court including on punctuality, efficiency, quality of court performance infrastructure and human resources, access to justice and for systems for court management and case management. Evaluate the compliance of the court with such standards, identify deficiencies and deviations.
  • Planning: After consulting with the stalk hosts of a court which includes the bar, ministerial staff, executive agencies promoting judicial functions such as prosecutors, police, process serving agencies and court users prepares and updates annually a 5-year court wise Court Development Plan. Control and manage the implementation of the CDP and report to superior authorities on progress.
  • Information and statistics: – They ensure that statistics on all aspects of the functioning of the court are compiled and reported accurately by systems established by the High Court; Ensure that reports on statistics are duly completed and provided as required.
  • Court Management; Ensure that the processes and procedures of the court fully comply with the policies and standards established by the High Court for court management and that they safeguard quality, ensure efficiency and timeliness and minimize costs to litigants and the State; and enhance access to justice.
  • Case Management: – They ensure that case management systems fully comply with the policies and standards established by the High Court for case management.
  • Responsiveness management, access to justice, legal aid and user-friendliness: – They ensure that the Court meets standards set by the High court on access to justice, legal aid and ADR methods and user-friendliness.
  • Quality Management – They ensure that all directions issued by the High Court from time-to-time are complied with.
  • Human Resource Management – They ensure that the HRM of ministerial staff in the Court complies with the HRM standards established by the High Court.
  • Core systems Management: They ensure that the Core systems of the court are established and function effectively. Documentation management utilities management infrastructure and facilities management financial systems management (audits, accounts, payments) in the coordination with the Principal District Judge.
  • IT systems Management Access: – They ensure that the IT systems of the court comply with standards established by the High Court and are fully functional. Feed the proposal for the National Arrears Grid to be set up to monitor the disposal of cases in all the Court, as and when it is set up. To attend all other duties as assigned by the District Judge/Presiding Officer then and there using office order or using oral order.

 

5. DUTIES OF A COURT REGISTRAR

The Court Registrar sits on a slightly raised platform below the judge facing the court. They do not wear any special clothes in court, although sometimes in the High Court if the Registrar happens to be a barrister, they will wear the barrister’s robe. Court Registrars are public servants and they are recruited straight from the civil service. The Registrar’s main role is to assist the judge:

  • The Registrar has a list of all the cases which are to be heard before the court for the day. They call out each case one-by-one so that the parties can identify themselves to the court.
  • When a witness of a case is called, the Registrar hands him the Bible and reads out the oath for the witness to repeat.
  • The Registrar keeps all the documents of the Court for each case and hands them to the Judge as each case is called upon.
  • When the Court makes an order, the Registrar keeps a note of the same.
  • After the day in court, the Registrar drafts the orders that the Judge has made that day and keeps a record of the same.
  • The Registrar usually deals with the administration necessary for the smooth operating of the courts.

 

6. DUTIES OF SUPERINTENDENT OF COURT

Superintendent Grade-I

In District Court Supervise all the administrative work of the Civil and Sessions Division and is the intermediately the channel between the Sections and Authority Competent to take a final decision on the important matters. The Superintendent Grade-I has to perform multifarious duties and functions and the main role of the Superintendent Grade-I is as under:

(a) To assist the authority in decision making and formulation of plans and programs;

(b) To present all cases, matters to the higher authority in a precise manner with all possible solutions and suggestions;

(c) To Take effective steps for building up and maintaining all essential records;

(d) To effectively supervise the work and conduct of all functionaries under him and be a source of guidance to lower functionaries in all official matter;

(e) To issue orders by the decisions of the competent authority and under proper authentication

Superintendent Grade-II performs the following duties

  1. Superintendent Grade-II of the department shall initiate and supervise the works relating to the concerned branches. They shall ensure the timely pursuance of pending matters.
  2. They shall ensure timely submission of court cases.
  3. They shall ensure that all manuals, rules instructions, guard file and precedent registers of the section are kept up to date.
  4. The Superintendent Grade-II working in the Directorate, Zonal and District Offices normally supervise the work of a section or call independently and submit cases directly to the Branch Officers/Middle-level officers and as such their duties, responsibilities and functions are the same as indicated for Superintendent Grade-I, excepting that they cannot dispose of any matter at a higher level and all communications to be sent out, are to issue under the signature of Branch Officer/Middle-Level Office.

 

Duties of Court Clerk

Court clerks perform administrative duties in Criminal and Civil Courts thereby assisting other officers of the court as well as judges and lawyers. A court clerk might work in a district court, a court of appeals, a bankruptcy court, or the Supreme Court. They maintain court records, administer oaths to witnesses, and authenticate copies of the court’s orders and judgments with the court’s seal.

7. CONCLUSION

All of the above-mentioned officers and many other officers and workmen manage the smooth functioning of the Courts in India. Some administrators manage a specific division of a courthouse, such as the trial court, while others manage the entire courthouse. Additionally, court administrators can work for a single courthouse or a group of courthouses in the same area. The Court Administrator carries out all executive and administrative duties including, but not limited to, cash flow management, records management, fiscal management, statistical analysis and projections, public relations, technology management, court security management, and personnel management, including directing day-to-day operations, performance management, hiring, disciplinary actions, and implements court policies adopted by the Judges.

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