Skip to main content

Welcome assurance: On the executive sharing judiciary's burdenT (Hindu )

The importance of cooperation between the executive and the judiciary in dealing with the unacceptably high number of pending cases in the country cannot be overemphasised. For over a year, there were indications of an impasse over judicial appointments between the two branches of the state, mainly after the Supreme Court struck down legislation to establish a National Judicial Appointments Commission. That phase appears to be coming to an end. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to the Chief Justice of India, J.S. Khehar, that his government would contribute its share in reducing the judiciary’s burden is a positive gesture that will be welcomed by the legal fraternity. Speaking at a function to mark the 150th anniversary of the Allahabad High Court, Mr. Modi gave the assurance after observing the pain behind the words of Justice Khehar over the increasing backlog of cases. Justice Khehar’s “dil ki baat (talk from the heart)” on the problem underscored an institutional anguish that has gripped the judiciary over time. Successive Chief Justices have brought to the government’s notice the state of affairs with regard to both the alarming docket situation and the chronic shortage of judicial hands in the superior and subordinate judiciary. The previous Chief Justice of India, T.S. Thakur, had highlighted the point in public functions as well as during judicial hearings, once even wondering if the government wanted to bring the judiciary to a grinding halt by its reluctance to fill up vacancies. If the Prime Minister’s latest remarks represent a fresh resolve not to let such an impression gain ground, it will surely represent a new beginning in the executive-judiciary relationship.

Mr. Modi did not spell out whether his assurance to contribute to the process meant his government would expedite the process of appointing judges, but there is no doubt that this will be the most significant contribution as well as the government’s responsibility. Official figures show there are as many as 437 vacancies in the High Courts alone as of March 1, 2017. It is incontestable that any effort to liquidate the arrears of cases would involve a significant increase in the speed at which judicial appointments are processed. Mr. Modi also spoke of the use of technology and digitalisation in the judicial system, a point that is of undoubted relevance when one considers the magnitude of the task of reducing the backlog. There is much that the use of technology can do in both liquidating arrears and expediting processes such as filing of documents and serving of notices. Meanwhile, reports suggest that the government and the Supreme Court Collegium may be close to agreeing on a new Memorandum of Procedure for judicial appointments. If differences that caused a prolonged stand-off are eliminated and a new procedure agreed upon, there cannot be better tidings for the institution.

Popular posts from this blog

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…