North Gazette News/Shimla
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday announced to open National Law University near Ghanahatti in Shimla in collaboration with HP High Court.
Speaking at the 3-days Regional Judicial Conference of North Zone States on Strengthening Justice Delivery System, Singh said that law students must be imparted world class education to prepare them to serve the justice delivery system in the best possible way.
“The government besides taking a decision to open National Law University is constructing a State of the art Judicial Academy at Shimla to ensure constant up-gradation of knowledge of the Judicial officers which will go along way in strengthening the justice delivery system in the state,” he said.
“I am happy to learn that the percentage of 5 years plus cases in the Subordinate Courts in our State has fallen below 8 percent,” the Chief Minister said.
Apart from general guidance, there is a requirement for case-specific determination of what would amount to a timely disposal of the case. Case-specific timetables are generally adopted to meet this object of individualized timely justice, Singh said.
He said that the state government in keeping with the need of litigant public and laudable role of Fast Track Courts created 9 regular courts of the Additional District and Sessions Judges and one CBI Court. During the last two years, 15 Civil Judges and 6 Additional District Judges have been appointed.
The Chief Minister said that HP State Legal Services Authority had been doing a commendable job in spreading the legal literacy and providing free legal aid to the poor. Legal aid centers have been established in the Districts and para-legal volunteers have been appointed for providing legal or other help.
The state government is committed to provide every support to the activities of the authority he said adding that seven posts of secretaries in the rank of Civil Judge (Senior Division) have been created in the State. The State Government has formulated litigation policy to settle disputes at pre-litigation stage, the Chief Minister said.
“There is no denying the fact that the Institution of Judiciary has performed well but is under strain due to huge pendency and delay in disposal of cases which is a cause of great concern,” he said.
Denial of ‘timely justice’ amounts to denial of ‘justice’ itself as the two were integral to each other. Timely disposal of cases were essential for maintaining the rule of law and providing access to justice which is a guaranteed fundamental right, he said.
He said that Himachal High Court had evolved in-house mechanism to reduce pendency by putting the acumen and skills of the judicial officers to the best use for which it deserve accolades.
The Chief Minister said that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an integral part of governance and the judiciary cannot remain aloof to it. Latest tools of technology would increase the efficiency in the Courts, added he.
He said that Justice was an inherent need of human beings notwithstanding the size and shape of the democratic polity, a mechanism for dispensation of Justice with all promptitude, fairness, effectiveness and at reasonable cost. Strengthening the justice delivery system would also require to strengthen and encourage the tools of other alternative dispute redressal (ADR) mechanism like Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation to reduce the pendency in the Courts, save its time, provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to the people, added the Chief Minister.
He said he hopes that the conference would afford an opportunity to participants to sharpen their skills and to share their experiences with one another besides deliberating upon the methods in strengthening the Judicial system of the country.
Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh Court, Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir, while addressing on the occasion thanked the State Government for fulfilling all the demands put forth by them. He also thanked the Government for considering its proposal for opening Law University in Shimla the land for which had been identified. He said that the Judiciary in Himachal Pradesh was one of the best as reported in report number 245 of Law Commission of India. He said that Himachal Pradesh was the sixth in ranking whose pendency was less than five years right from the sub-ordinate courts in the districts. He said that this year High Court had disposed of as many as 28000 cases and efforts were to clear backlog of the remaining soon.
Revenue and Law Minister, Kaul Singh Thakur while speaking on the occasion and recollecting memories of his legal profession said that there was a time when the cases kept pending in the courts for years together, but with the fast changing world and adoption of new technology the pendency in the courts right from Sub-division level had reduced to minimum. He said that though the number of Courts have increased, yet there was a need to speed up Justice delivery system to give relief to people. He said that State Judiciary had done a commendable job over the years and under the guidance of the present Chief Justice and stands bright and up-right in the country today. He said that the State Government was committed to provide all basic facilities to the judicial officers along-with full support and co-ordination.
Justice Rajeev Sharma, Judge, High Court of Himachal Pradesh said that here is no single or clear understanding of when a case should be counted as delayed. He said as e-government initiatives continue to transform the nature of India’s bureaucracy and enhance the quality of government services, there is a need that Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) comes into play in judicial reform efforts. Notable success in implementing ICT in the judiciary have been achieved in Canada, Australia, and in several countries across Latin America. He said that a well-functioning judicial system was required to keep up with the demands of modern democratic society. It is unquestionable that technology can play an influential role in ensuring that the relationship between citizens and the government is strong and communicative, he said.
Lokayukta, Justice L S Panta, Chairman, HP State Administrative Tribunal, V K Sharma, Justice Deepak Gupta, Chief Justice, High Court of Tripura, Chief Secretary, Vineet Chaudhary, President National Judicial Academy, Geeta Oberoi Additional Chief Secretary, V C Pharka, former judges of Supreme Court and State High Court, Advocate General, Shravan Dogra, President Bar Association, Yashwardhan Chauhan, senior advocates and other members of legal fraternity were present on the occasion.