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Court wants 10 percent more judges for subordinate courts

Delhi,Immigration/Law/Rights, Thu, 19 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday directed the central and state governments to create 10 percent additional posts of the total regular judicial cadre for subordinate courts to fulfil the constitutional mandate of fair and expeditious justice to people.


"Keeping in view the need of the hour and the constitutional mandate to provide fair and expeditious trial to all litigants and the citizens of the country, we direct the respective states and the central government to create 10 percent of the total regular cadre of the state as additional posts," said a bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar in their judgement.


The court said that these 10 percent additional posts would created within three months and the state governments would take up the "process for filling such additional vacancies as per the Higher Judicial Service and Judicial Services Rules of that state, immediately thereafter".


"It will neither be appropriate nor logical for the Union of India and/or the state governments to raise an argument that this court may not issue any directions or mandamus to the concerned government, as it may have far reaching consequences," Justice Swatanter Kumar said pronouncing the judgment.


"This argument does not impress us at all," the court said.


The court's ruling came while dealing with a batch of petition raising several question about the Fast Track Courts (FTC) including a challenge to the central government's decision to discontinue them, others pointing to the lacuna in their function and also appointment of their presiding judges.


The government had on Sep 14, 2010 decided not to finance the FTC Scheme beyond March 31, 2011.


Holding that it was hardly impressed by the position taken by the central and state governments, the court said that firstly the governments are not expected to raise such issue and secondly, it can "hardly be disputed that they "have not been able to successfully perpetrate any stable and result-oriented solution to reduce the huge pendency of criminal cases before the courts".


In another significant direction, the judgment said: "All the decisions taken and recommendations made at the chief justices and chief ministers conference shall be placed before the cabinet of the centre or the state, as the case may be, which alone shall have the authority to finally accept, modify or decline implementation of such decisions and, that too, upon objective consideration and for valid reasons."


"No decision, recommendation or proposal made by the chief justices and chief ministers conference shall be rejected or declined or varied at any bureaucratic level, in the hierarchy of the Governments, whether in the state or the centre," it said.


While declining to interfere with the decision to discontinue the financing of the FTCs beyond March 31, 2011, the court issued nine directions in order to "protect the guarantees of Article 21 of he Constitution, improve the justice delivery system and fortify the independence of judiciary...."


The directions said all the state that have taken decision to continue with the FTCs beyond March 31, 2011, would adhere to the period for which they have kept functional. Odisha has decided to keep FTCs functional till March 2013 and Haryana till March 2016.


The states which are in the process of deciding on whether or not to continue the FTC Scheme as a permanent feature of administration of justice are free to take any decision, the court said, but stressed this would not involve continuing the FTCs on ad-hoc basis.


States could either decide to discontinue them or keep them operational on permanent basis, it said.


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