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Executive, judiciary must be independent: Chief Justice

Ajith Prakash Shah. — Photo: Vino John

Ajith Prakash Shah. — Photo: Vino John  

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The executive should not interfere with the judiciary, said the new Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, adding, "the executive should have no influence over the judiciary."

Addressing a felicitation function here on Monday, Mr. Justice Shah said advocates, judges and the general public had a role in maintaining the independence of the judiciary.

"These are testing times for the judicial institution in this country," he said. "Courts, overburdened with arrears, are struggling to cope up with the torrential influx of litigations."

The Chief Justice said the number of those approaching courts for justice was bound to go up because "growing industrialisation, population explosion, followed by urbanisation, consumerism, tremendous advances in information technology and globalisation of economy have given rise to serious social and legal issues."

Increase in cases

The increase in public interest litigations led to greater participation of courts in all aspects of life, Mr. Justice Shah said. "Even in matters involving political adjudication, the High Courts and the Supreme Court, as the final arbiter of judicial process, have become the last resort of people."

Growing challenges

The tasks of judicial institutions are going to be challenging. Their effective functioning and coping with the ever-growing litigation would need an active cooperation of both judges and lawyers, who "by virtue of belonging to the profession of law, are wedded to the rule of law." Welcoming the "new leader of the Tamil Nadu judiciary," Advocate-General N.R. Chandran expressed concern over the delay in filling up vacancies in the court.

"Even though the selection process for new judges has been completed, the warrant of appointment is yet to be issued."

He "hoped and prayed" that new judges would be appointed soon.

The Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) president, S. Prabakaran, said that due to shortage of judges and long-pending vacancies, the disposal rate by the High Court dropped in the recent months.

He said a strong and independent judiciary was the need of the hour.

"Illogical policy"

The Madras Bar Association (MBA) president, R. Tamizhmani, called for the abolition of the "illogical policy", which prohibits posting a judge belonging to a State as Chief Justice of the High Court in the State.

J. Rajendra Prasad, Law Association president, wanted the constitutional authorities to make every effort to fill all vacancies in the court.

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