M A I N   N E W S

Deal with corrupt VIPs on priority, says CJI
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
In a path-breaking suggestion, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, has advocated that corruption cases involving the “high and mighty” of the land must be given priority over other routine cases.

The CJI, in his speech at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here yesterday, also suggested that rape and sexual harassment cases as also intellectual property-related arbitration should be dealt with on a priority basis.

The plain-speaking CJI, who nurses the vision of a stronger, speedier and vibrant judicial system, also expressed the need for expeditious filling of vacancies of judges and judicial officers at all levels. Mr Justice Sabharwal also talked about the need to plan so that vacancies could be filled as soon as they arose.

“Why can’t we plan for the vacancies that are likely to rise due to retirements etc? If this is done, we would have appointed a fresh candidate for the post much before it fell vacant”, he observed.

Incidentally, the proposal mooted by the CJI to appoint retired judges as ad-hoc judges of high courts has already received the nod of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Law Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj.

“Yes, we are in favour of the suggestion. We have written to the Chief Justices of various high courts to initiate the process”, Mr Bhardwaj, who was present on the occasion, said.

According to the CJI’s proposal, the President in consultation with the Chief Justices of various high courts would appoint the chosen candidates as ad-hoc judges. These judges would enjoy powers similar to regular judges, the only difference being they would not be able to hear fresh cases. Such appointments would be made under Article 224-A of the Constitution.

“Starting with criminal cases, especially those where punishment is very little, these judges would also hear and decide civil cases. The idea is to take their help in reducing the huge backlog of pending cases”, Mr Justice Sabharwal said.

Apart from the appointment of ad-hoc judges and dealing with certain types of cases on priority, the CJI also advocated a zero-vacancy culture at all levels and awareness about the importance of court’s time so that it is spent only for the effective dispensation of justice. He also came down heavily on the culture of frivolous litigation, either by individuals or by the government.

Incidentally, the CJI in his speech specifically referred to the news reports published in The Tribune about the vision of the country’s first Prime Minister, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, vis-a-vis the judiciary. Talking about the need to provide cheap and speedy justice to the masses, he referred to The Tribune articles in Saturday Extra.


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