First conference of Judicial Officers of Southern States of India held
Supreme Court Judge P. Sathasivam on Sunday said judges should be well versed with the latest amendments and developments in law and put them into practice to speed up the process of delivering justice.
Delivering the inaugural address at the first ‘Conference of Judicial Officers of Southern States of India', organised by Tamil Nadu Officers' Association, he said, “If criminal courts have to be an effective instrument in dispensing justice, presiding officers must cease to be a spectator and a mere recording machine. They have to be an active participant to ascertain the truth.”
Citing examples of recent amendments such as sections 265A to 265L of the Criminal Procedure Code relating to plea bargaining, he said judicial officers must be aware of offences affecting the socio-economic condition of the country. Also, Section 309 of CrPC has been amended to restrict grant of adjournments.
Referring to section 89 of Civil Procedure Code, which enables referral of disputes for settlement through Alternate Dispute Redress mechanism, he said it should be employed wherever possible as it reduced the case load and arrears of the court.
Justice Sathasivam asked judges to conduct themselves with integrity and impartiality.
Supreme Court Judge H.L. Dattu called for computerisation of lower courts and said this would help data-processing of various types of criminal and civil cases for keeping precise account of pending cases. Similarly, old cases that have become infructuous could be separated and listed for hearing and disposal. Referring to the limited extent to which forensic science is used in the criminal justice system, he said, “As compared to other disciplines of science and technology, forensic science is static and stunted in India. It is not being utilised in its own right with the full thrust to help the investigating law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system…The forensic awareness among all the branches of criminal administration is not satisfactory and requires training and education.”
Madras High Court Judge Elipe Dharma Rao said inadequacy of infrastructure in subordinate courts hampered the speedy delivery of justice.
Acting Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, C.N. Ramachandran Nair, said that the main focus should be on preventing exodus of young lawyers to multinational companies.