Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, addressed a Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices, in New Delhi, today. The Prime Minister applauded the high level of trust that the common man has in the judiciary.
Referring to the speech of the Chief Justice of India, where he spoke of the large number of cases pending in various courts in India, the Prime Minister said that he understood the Chief Justice’s concern. He said that going forward, he hoped that the Government and the Judiciary could work together to find solutions to these issues.
The Prime Minister also stressed on the efforts being made by the Government to remove archaic laws from the statute books.
Addressing the Joint Conference of Chief Justices of States and Chief Justices of High Courts here in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi the Prime Minister said that while the executive is under constant assessment and scrutiny in public life, through various institutions, the Judiciary normally does not face any such scrutiny. He said the Judiciary has built up an enormous faith and reputation among the people of India, and should evolve its own in-built systems for self-assessment, so that it can live up to the high expectations placed on it by the people.
In his presidential address Justice, T.S.Thakur, Chief Justice of India expressed his deep concern on the rising vacancies of Judges in High Courts as well as subordinate courts. He referred to the enormous work load on the judiciary due to this reason. He was of the opinion that the piling of cases at various levels in courts which are at present around three crores can be effectively reduced if all the vacancies in several High Courts and district as well as lower courts are filled up.
Thakur also suggested that services of retired Judges who are willing to work can be utilized as per the provisions of Constitution. He said the National Court management committee has also suggested to work in a mission mode for the disposal of pending cases in such a way that no case remain pending for more than five years. On the issue of Commercial courts, the Chief Justice said you need to work in a totally different environment. He said it should be where the corporate clientele should feel comfortable.
Welcoming the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India at the inaugural session D.V.Sadananda Gowda said, the High Courts and the State Governments have a major role to play in the development of judicial administration in the States. He recalled the adoption of a landmark resolution in the last Conference wherein it was decided that the Chief Justices of the High Courts and the Chief Ministers of the States would institute a mechanism for regular interaction amongst themselves to resolve the issues relating to infrastructure and manpower needs and facilities for the judiciary. The minister hoped that in most of the States, such a mechanism has already been instituted and this Conference would provide us the perfect opportunity to deliberate upon ways and means to take this initiative forward.
The Law Minister said as per information available, the Central Government and the State Governments have together spent on an average a sum of about Rs. 2,000 crores per annum during the last three years on development of judicial infrastructure. Accordingly, the overall availability of the court halls now matches the working strength of around 16000 judges / judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary. With a number of projects in hand, we are aiming at 20,000 court halls in the near future to match the availability with sanctioned strength in every state, he noted.
Expressing concern on the persistence of a large number of vacancies of judges and judicial officers despite notable progress made on judicial infrastructure front the minister urge the High Courts to adopt a pro-active approach in selection of the suitable candidates for various judicial positions.