New Delhi, Feb 24 : Maintaining that the old belief that the judiciary was beyond criticism has given way to among other things upholding of minimum standards of ethical conduct and competence, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday advocated encouraging "constructive criticism".
"The old belief that the judiciary was beyond criticism, as to its performance, has given way, in many countries to a serious debate, to ensure that appropriate levels of performance are reached, that continuing education outside the court room is accepted, that minimum standards of diligence, competence and ethical conduct are upheld and that all of this is demonstrated to the community whom the judges serve. In my view constructive criticism should be encouraged," Mukherjee said in his valedictory address at the All India Seminar on judicial reforms.
Presiding over the session, Supreme Court Judge Ashok Bhan took a dig at media for "putting the entire blame on judiciary" for delay in justice and pendency of cases in the courts.
"No one can blame the judiciary for pendency of cases for long and arrears. There is a lot of misinformation in the media about the state of judiciary and the status of administration of justice," Justice Bhan said.
He went on to say that unprecedented increase in number of cases without any proportionate increased in the number of judges and infrastructures are the main reasons for the huge pendency.
Seeking position of zero vacancy for judges at all levels, Justice Bhan said Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million populations instead of 10.3 at present.
Apart from establishing e-courts at all levels, Justice Bhan said facilities for video conferencing must be made available upto the subordinate court levels.
Besides Parekh, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court M K Sharma, Additional Solicitor General of India Amarendra Sharan and Additional Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium addressed the concluding function among others.
The two day session was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil here yesterday at a function presided over by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan.
Fourteen sitting judges of the Supreme Court addressed different sessions of the seminar, attended by over 1400 delegates from across the country.