President’s speech on Judicial Reforms

  • To secure justice it is necessary to have:
    • rule of law with the highest standards of transparency
    • deliverance of speedy justice at affordable costs
  • The three organs should not step into or play the role that the constitution has not assigned them. The fundamental principle is contained in the assertion of Charles Montesquieu that there can be “no liberty” when either legislative and executive powers are combined in the same entity or when the judicial powers are not separated from the legislative and executive.
  • In India, justice is time consuming and expensive. The large pendency of court cases is a cause for concern. The total pendency in the Subordinate Courts and High Courts in the end of 2011 calendar year was over 3.1 crore cases. The pendency in the end of 2012 calendar year in the Supreme Court was over 66 thousand cases. Delay further adds to the costs. Therefore, in many ways it tantamounts to denying justice and this is against the principle of equality that is the bedrock of democracy.
  • The Eighteenth Law Commission had made certain suggestions:
    • utilize full working hours of the court
    • more application of technology such that cases with similar points are clubbed for a combined decision
    • specifying a time limit for oral arguments
    • time limit for arriving at decision
    • curtailing vacancies in the higher judiciary
  • Internationally there is complete recognition that management of litigation is a service and not a favour. It is accepted that a litigant is entitled to the most appropriate and expeditious means of grievance redressal.
  • There may be a need to broaden the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice at the Hague beyond those involving trade, business and commerce. This is required in the context of disputes that arise on account of transnational commercial operations.
  • The need to allow legal professionals to practice without hindrance in all countries needs to be deliberated by the international legal fraternity. The need also arises as small developing countries are inadequately equipped due to lack of expertise in the intricacies of world agreements and its dispute settlement mechanisms.

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