New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) In the changed scenario, the judiciary cannot be considered above ''constructive criticism'' and should be brought under the scanner for its performance, competence, ethical conduct and standards of diligence, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.
Speaking at the valedictory session of the two-day All India seminar on Judicial Reforms, organised by the Confederation of Indian Bar here, Mr Mukherjee said, ''A judge should not only be excellent from within but he should also visibly display the functional excellence, which is necessary to fulfil the constitutional promise of justice by the judiciary as a whole''.
There has been a constant problem of reconciling the conflicting demands of judicial independence and tenure with the demands of accountability and essential levels of judicial competence, he added.
Hailing the United Nation's role in bringing countries together for promoting and enhancing the principles of rule of law in international relations, the Minister said to cooperate with other countries in finding solutions to the conflicting issue of making the domestic laws punishable for an offence transgressing a citizens' rights conferred by their states. For that purpose, India has adopted a number of conventions on private international law or "conflict of laws', dealing with civil procedure, he said.
Referring to topic of judicial reforms, Mr Mukherjee said it involved a critical appreciation and assessment of the existing laws and administration of justice which should be made more vibrant and receptive.
''The judicial reforms have to have pro-people content as common people are asking for reducing the costs of litigation, minimising the delay and difficulty of accessing the courts, especially by those living in far flung areas'', the Minister added.
Favouring the speedy computerisation of courts, Mr Mukherjee said reforms of the courts as well as upgrading the standards of legal education as suggested by various commissions and panels over the past two decade should be taken up expeditiously.
UNI JSS SK RK2003