Press Release Demanding Immediate Implementation of Judicial Reforms

PRESS RELEASE

Subject: SIFF demands immediate implementation of Judicial Reforms and setting up of National Judicial Council.

No country can progress unless it gives justice to its own people. Today, Indian judiciary is in dysfunctional state with more than 2.6 crore pending cases. Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) demands immediate implementation of Judicial Reforms. This also requires cooperation from judiciary, lawyers, politicians and different State Governments.

A report by Transparency International, the Global Corruption Watchdog organisation said in February 2006, “in India 26 Supreme Court judges faced a backlog of more than 30,000 pending cases; over three million cases were pending in the high courts – 350 years of work for the country’s 670 judges at the current rate of resolution”.

The Malimath committee recommendations on Judicial Reforms-2003 are gathering dust since last 6 years

  • Judiciary is the most important pillar in our nation. If it’s dysfunctional, then the society and country’s future gets crippled. Country will remain corrupt and badly governed; if there are no judicial reforms.
  • We demand for Setting up of evening courts and also operation of courts in two shifts in all cities. This will make best use of the existing infrastructure like court buildings, computers, and typewriters and will increase the time available to judiciary by 50% to 150%, which will increase case disposal rate by at least 50%.
  • We demand that judges must also come under purview of Right to Information Act (RTI Act) and their assets should also be openly disclosed to public as ours is a democratic country and it’s the citizens, who rule the country.
  • A Rajya Sabha member, Parimal Nathwani, had suggested to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a National Judicial Commission (NJC) with powers to inquire into complaints against judges and to transfer them for misconduct. SIFF demands National Judicial Council be set up immediately.
  • No new law/law amendment should be passed till judicial reforms are implemented.
  • Hooliganism on court premises has to be eliminated by bringing more accountability to Bar Councils and severe punishment to people indulging in violence in court premises. Any litigant or witnesses apprehending fear of life and limb in court premises should be given adequate protection. There must be a police station attached to the court premises.
  • The society is changing fast and majority of population is youth below the age of 35. Society needs young judges in family courts, who can understand and be comfortable with aspirations of young people in society.
  • Women make 50% of India’s population. Half of judges’ positions in high courts and Supreme Court must be reserved for women judges.
  • Changes in contempt of court laws must be made and usage of this law to suppress the truth by honourable judges as a weapon to scare citizens should be stopped.
  • According to principles of Natural Justice, every person must be considered innocent till proven guilty. However in India, there are some draconian laws like section 498a of IPC, which consider accused men and women to be guilty till proven innocent. It has to be changed.
  • Family courts in Bangalore have to be increased to 20 from current 4 courts. 5 separate guardianship courts have to be dedicated for child custody disputes. Due to delays in courts, during a marital problem, a lot of children are cut off from one of the parent and suffer from parental alienation.
  • In domestic violence law, gender neutral non-sexist language is to be introduced; the words “wife” and “husband” have to be replaced by “spouse”.
  • As per Delhi high court decriminalizing gay relationships, steps must be taken to prevent future cases of domestic violence and inter partner physical and mental cruelty. Are judiciary and Govt geared up for this eventuality?
  • We demand outsourcing of non-core judiciary jobs to private parties to increase efficiency.
  • Ombudsman for judiciary must be appointed with powers of audit/inspection.
  • Quarterly report card of the Central Law Minister and all State Govt Law ministers must be published.

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily is sincerely planning for judicial reforms, but he is facing opposition from vested interests and corrupt politicians as they want their personal cases to be buried.

Recently, Veerappa Moily has said that more than 2.6 crore cases were pending in the subordinate courts and over 39 lakh cases were pending in high courts across the country. He also had said, “As per the reports received from the Registries of the High Courts, 39,10,858 cases were pending in the High Courts and 2,66,50,467 cases were pending in the Subordinate Courts as on December 31, 2008.”

These figures clearly spell the need for immediate implementation of judicial reforms. In the event of the reforms being delayed, the society will be witnessing more and more injustices like Prof. Sabbarwal’s murder case (where even though the assault was shown on television which ultimately led to his death, the accused were let off for want of evidence), Jessica Lall’s murder case (where the influential accused strangulated justice in the temple of justice) or the recent pampering of proclaimed terrorist like Kasab whose comforts are being taken care of at the cost of the public exchequer and is making an open mockery of the Indian Criminal Justice System.

SIFF strongly feels the judiciary is directly responsible for the ruckus and needs to be made accountable for, by the implementation of judicial reforms and thus extends it full-fledged support to Law Minister Mr. Moily.

Thanks and Regards

Public Relations Officer
Save Indian Family Foundation

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