Judicial reforms need of the hour, says Veerappa Moily

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New Delhi, Aug.16 (ANI): Union Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily on Sunday said that the delivery of qualitative justice to citizens was a promise for which the executive, the legislature and the judiciary were equally responsible.

Addressing a joint conference of the Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts at the Vigyan Bhavan here on Sunday, Veerappa Moily said: "We must also realize that effective justice delivery mechanisms are substantial alleviants for social tensions and, in fact, go a long way in bringing about equanimity, restoring faith in the rule of law, and above all, in the very essentials of a democratic way of life."

Moily drew attention of all CMs and Chief Justices of High Courts, on this occasion, towards President Pratibha Patil's parliamentary address, in which she mentioned about the urgency to usher in judicial reforms.

In this regard, Moily informed that preliminary discussions had been held with key figures in justice implementation. "We have called for a national consultation on the issue of Judicial Reforms which will be held shortly."

Describing making justice more easily accessible to the people particularly in the rural areas as an important aspect, Moily said: "The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 which enables setting up of Nyayalayas in the Intermediate Panchayat levels is a revolutionary way of bringing justice closer to people."

Moily said the concept of Gram Nyayalayas is quite unique in contrast to the Gram Panchayat contemplated in the Panchayat Act.

"These Courts contemplate summary proceedings and a time bound disposal within six months of the institution of the case. Once in operation, justice will be brought to the doorsteps of the common man. I, therefore, urge that we put our act together to operationalise the Gram Nayalayas in the quickest time and that we start our first phase within six months," Moily said.

Moily informed that information and communication technology had been introduced in the Supreme Court, in 21 High Courts as well as around 15,000 District and Subordinate Courts in the Country.

Moily said while adding that training of Judges and Court staff in the use of information and communication technology was on.

Moily sought cooperation of all chief ministers and chief justices of High Courts present on the occasion in successful implementation of courts' computerisation project, which he said; "is ultimately to be owned by the judiciary for a better delivery of services and transparency to the stakeholders."

"The Fast Track Courts established on the recommendation of the Eleventh Finance Commission have made a significant impact in disposal of long pending sessions cases and cases of under-trial prisoners," said Moily.

Expressing concern over the huge pendency of court cases, Moily said: "More than 2.5 crore cases are reportedly pending in the lower courts of the country and if we add numbers pending in the High Courts and the Supreme Court, the number may as well exceed 3.5 crore."

Moily said the Government intends to evolve a national litigation policy by which the Government is able to fight cases with discretion and care.

"The Government is in agreement with Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India that an attitude of taking firm, independent and impartial decisions if adopted by the Government would itself lead to a substantial reduction of arrears and would definitely control the inflow of litigation into the Courts of Justice."

Moily said it may be noted that in a fairly ambitious programme the judiciary today visualizes that its disposal level must be hiked up to 95 to100 per cent of total case load in five years. "Keeping this fact in view, our senior Law Officers, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, are looking at a blueprint by which this target is achieved within three years."

Moily said: "We are glad to note that Hon'ble Chief Justice of India has acknowledged repeatedly that judicial responsibility; accountability and independence are in every sense inseparable with the notions of fairness and rule of law."

"The appropriate steps are under way to respond to these needs of the hour and we will soon present a Vision Statement to the Hon'ble Prime Minister for the purpose of outlining the way forward for the Judiciary," Moily informed. (ANI)

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