CJI concerned over judicial vacancies

April 10, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 09:34 am IST - HYDERABAD:

The judiciary and the Union Ministry for Law and Justice have been working in tandem to address the urgent need to fill up judicial vacancies towards protecting people’s fundamental right of access to justice, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said during his inaugural address at the 14th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities here on Saturday.

Vacancies in various high courts will reach 500 by the year-end, which is putting the judicial system under great stress, Justice Thakur said.

Delay due to standoff

The process of judicial appointments was delayed due to the recent standoff over National Judicial Appointments Commission, resulting in 160 names recommended by High Courts being stuck for a year.

Once the issue was resolved, the process of appointments gathered momentum, with 130 names already being cleared and under process by the Law Ministry.

Justice Thakur appreciated the support by Minister for Law Sadananda Gowda in this regard, and said the process of appointments must go on whatever may be the legal wrangles, in order to protect the fundamental rights. Appreciating the efforts of Legal Services Authorities, Justice Thakur said they helped not only the poor by providing free legal aid, but also the judicial system by warding off the pendency of cases. About 62 lakh cases have been disposed off by the Lok Adalat alone last year, while 1.61 potential cases which could land in courts were settled through mediation.

The formidable challenge before the judiciary is to reach out to those below poverty line, who are unaware of their rights, and incapable of seeking redress, Justice Thakur noted, and sought involvement of Bar Council of India and educational institutions in this endeavour.

Telangana chief minister K.Chandrashekhar Rao praised the services of Lok Adalats in alternative dispute resolution, as it involved no court fee, and facilitated direction interaction with judges. Telangana government does not wish to encourage litigation over trivial issues, he said, and assured infrastructural assistance for effective functioning of arbitration centers sought to be set up by the High Court.

Minister Sadananda Gowda, during his address, appreciated the efforts of the NALSA in establishing legal aid cells in jails for under-trial prisoners.

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