Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday stressed on the need to deliver timely justice and said the UPA government was committed to working with the judiciary to bring about improvements in the country’s justice delivery system. He was speaking at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Bombay High Court here.

Dr. Singh noted that a number of initiatives and reforms had been instituted for this purpose and cited the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms that was launched last year to achieve the twin objective of increasing access by reducing delays and arrears, and enhancing accountability.

Initiatives taken

Recounting the initiatives taken by his government, Dr. Singh said a Constitution Amendment Bill on raising the retirement age of High Court judges was before Parliament, while a comprehensive proposal had been formulated for the establishment of an All India Judicial Service.

An inter-ministerial group was examining the required amendments in the Negotiable Instrument Act along with other measures, to check the increasing litigation arising out of cases of cheque-bouncing, he said. He further noted that a group under the Chairman of Law Commission was looking at improvements required in court procedure and processes to ensure a better criminal justice system.

Case disposal

Noting the improvement in the disposal of cases in various courts of the country, Dr. Singh said that it was heartening that the number of pending cases had declined by more than 6 lakh between July and December 2011.

“The Bombay High Court and its subordinate courts have contributed handsomely to this achievement, reducing their pendency by 5 lakh cases annually since 2010,” Dr. Singh noted.

Speaking on the glorious tradition of the Bombay High Court in enriching the Indian legal system, the Prime Minister said it was “remarkable” that the first Chief Justice, the Attorney General and Solicitor General of Independent India were from this court.

“It is even more remarkable that these three significant positions continued to be occupied by the products of this Bar [the Bombay High Court] even today,” he remarked.

Since 1947, 22 judges from the Bombay High Court have been elevated to the apex court and as many as eight of them have adorned the office of Chief Justice of India.