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Government Waking Up To Corruption In Judiciary

Posted by egovindia on August 6, 2006

R Singh <> wrote:

Government Waking Up To Corruption In Judiciary


Government is slowly waking up to corruption and mismanagement in administration of justice.


But the process is painfully slow primarily because Dr. Manmohan Singh doesn�t want to annoy the Supreme Court and judiciary on its own finds little wrong in its functioning and mainly want more perks, more courts and computerization etc.


Corruption and incompetence is widespread in judiciary like any other organ of the government but in other organs there is some accountability and check, judiciary is least accountable.


Ravinder Singh

PM calls for restraint in judicial activism


In significant remarks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said judicial activism must be used in a restrained manner and take into account “administrative viability” while asking the higher judiciary to address “instances of corruption” in judicial system.


“I feel that judicial activism must be used in a restrained manner to fill up any institutional vacuum or failure and to clarify legal positions, retaining its character as a powerful but sparingly used instrument for correction.


“Judicial activism must also take adequately into account the administrative viability of the reform process,” Singh said in his inaugural address to the Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts here.

Describing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) as a highly commendable mechanism when it was initiated, he said “we need to reflect whether we have reached a stage where the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, whether it has become a tool for obstruction, delay and sometimes, harassment.


“A balanced approach in taking up PILs cases will continue to keep PILs as a potent tool for rectifying public ills.” An important aspect of the reform and modernisation of the judiciary and improving the incentive mechanism, the Prime Minister said, was to tackle corruption in judiciary.


“Instances of corruption have now begun to surface in our judicial system too. The higher judiciary must address this challenge and show the way forward to the rest of the system,” he said.

The Prime Minister said “apart from delay in settlement of cases, lengthy court procedures, frequent adjournments, evidence taking procedures, corruption in judiciary is also a problem of public concern we must address.” The Government, he said, was “actively considering” various suggestions for improving the working of the judiciary including the setting up of an All India Judicial Service as “a formal mechanism to provide a mode of self-scrutiny of the conduct of judges and for ensuring independence of the judiciary.” He suggested that these matters be examined in the light of the difficulties faced by the common litigant and reforms initiated in the judicial and legal process in keeping with the basic principles enunciated in our Constitution.


Hailing judiciary “as custodians of the fundamental rights and freedoms of our citizens”, Singh said it has an enormous duty and responsibility towards all litigants.


“We must, therefore, have an effective mechanism to ensure judicial accountability while at the same time maintaining the independence of the judiciary,” he said, adding the nation expected it to deal with the infirmities and inadequacies that remain.

“The judiciary must remain in step with changing times even as it remains committed to its basic values and purposes,” he said.


Deviating from his prepared text, the Prime Minister termed as “unacceptable” the huge pendency of 30 lakh cases in High Courts and over 2.5 crore cases in subordinate courts.


He said the Government was considering a proposal to increase retirement age of High Court Judges and was engaged in preparing a Gram Nyayalayas Bill to provide grassroot level justice.

Maintaining that the UPA Government was committed to judicial reforms, the Prime Minister said it would extend all possible assistance in this regard. “The Government is in the process of drawing up an action plan for a holistic approach to judicial reforms,” he said.


There was a need to improve the service conditions of judges to attract better talent, he said, adding the Government has already implemented many of the recommendations of the National Judicial Pay Commission.


“The Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are now entitled to more liberalised perquisites and allowances. There are several incentives for meritorious, talented and eminent advocates to be appointed as Supreme Court Judges,” he said.


Singh said “t he Government is presently considering a proposal to increase the age of retirement of High Court Judges” and the issue of post retirement benefits of Judges was also under its active consideration.


He appealed to the Chief Ministers to process proposals for filling up the large number of vacancies in the lower courts “as expediciously as possible when they receive them from the Chief Justices of their respective High Courts.” He said the Government would like to work closely with the Chief Justice of India and his Collegium for speedily filling up the vacancies in Higher Judiciary.


The Prime Minister said “I have great faith that Justice Sabharwal (CJI) and his learned senior colleagues will lead and guide the judiciary to achieve the formidable goal of reducing pendency and providing speedier and more affordable justice to the common man.” He assured consistent support financial for Fast Track Courts, National Legal Literacy Mission and computerisation of courts.


CJs deliberate on issues confronting Judiciary


Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal and Chief Justices of all the High Courts today began their deliberations here on the issues confronting the judiciary including reforms in the criminal justice system, corruption in lower judiciary and pendency of cases.


The two-day Chief Justices’ Conference, not open to the media, assumes significance in the wake of recent controversy over the acquittal of all the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case and the apex court seeking legislative measures to check the growing trend of witnesses turning hostile.


The conference will evaluate the progress made in the implementation of the resolutions passed in the previous such conference held in September, 2004 and consider establishing a permanent mechanism for implementing resolutions of the Chief Justices’ Conferences and the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices, sources said.


It will also discuss the steps required to be taken by the High Courts and the Governments pursuant to the December 23, 2005 letter written by the CJI to the Chief Justices of High Courts to ensure speedy disposal of cases and improve the working of the judiciary.


Gearing up the working of the vigilance cells in the High Courts to dispel people’s perception of corruption in the subordinate judiciary and court staff was also on the agenda.


Increase in the strength of Judges of the High Courts and subordinate courts and review of steps taken for reduction, elimination of arrears of cases in the High Courts and Subordinate courts will also be deliberated upon.

The resolutions passed by the Chief Justices could be made available to the media after the conclusion of the conference tomorrow.

The Chief Justices will evaluate the performance of fast track courts and setting up of such courts in each State and Union Territories and examine the feasibility of civil cases also being dealt with by fast track courts. Augumentation of infrastructure of Subordinate Courts and modernisation of courts and computerisation of justice delivery system would also be discussed.


Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association organised a ‘High Tea’ for the Chief Justices attending the conference.


Supreme Court Registrar General V K Jain had earlier said it will assess the progress on alternative dispute resolution system and strengthening of Lok Adalat System and legal literacy programmes.

Asked if it will discuss contentious issues like setting up of National Judicial Commission, Jain had said any subject could be taken up with the permission of the chair.


Financial autonomy to the High Courts, training of judicial officials and court staff and facility of research assistants and law clerks will also come up for discussion during the conference which would conclude tomorrow.


The other issues on the agenda were establishment of E-courts and video-conferencing facilities, strengthening legal aid system, improvements in administration of civil justice system and entrusting selection of Subordinate Judicial Officers to High Courts wherever required.



PM calls for restraint in judicial activism

Pass clear, specific directions, SC tells HCs

SC gives radical suggestions to speed up trial in civil cases

Govt to make Accountability of Judges Bill non-controversial

Govt proposes setting up National Judicial Commission

Kalam advocates need to pursue reforms in judicial system

Nuns, priests can be enrolled as advocates: HC

SC grants bail to 70-yr-old languishing in UP jail for 38 yrs


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