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No confrontation with legislature: CJI
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi , March 11
While expressing opposition to the proposed National Judicial Council (NJC), Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal today refused to buy the argument that there was confrontation between the judiciary and the legislature in view of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s assertion that he would not submit to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on the issue of dismissal of MPs in the “cash for query” scam.

Asserting that he did not see any confrontation , Justice Sabharwal said , “it is a matter of perception. Parties come to court or may not come, the cases are still decided. I have none… I don’t see any confrontation in it. In our Constitution, separation of powers among the three wings of the state are very clearly defined.I have said it before and I reiterate it now.”

He was responding to a query from the media, while briefing it about the deliberations at the two-day conference of the Chief Justices (CJs) of the High Courts here and their joint meeting with Chief Ministers today.

Though expressing his views against the need of setting up a NJC in view of the UPA government planning to introduce a re-drafted Bill regarding the issue in Parliament, the CJI at the press meet, also attended to by Law Minsiter HR Bhardwaj, said he would certainly express his views about it only after looking at the re-drafted Bill, if sent to him.

However, Mr Bhardwaj did not speak.

The CJI at the same time said Parliament had powers to enact law and he was not aware what were the recommendations of the Law Commission, to which the Bill was sent on the suggestion of his predecessor Justice RC Lahoti, who also had opposed it.

Regarding deliberations at CJs’ conference, Justice Sabharwal said various important issues needed to be urgently addressed to bring down the alarmingly growing burden of cases, were discussed.

Among the important was to not allow permanent stay in any criminal case by High Courts when review petition on a certain order during pendency of trial came to them. The stay should be at first instance for six months and could be extended at the most by another six months , but not beyond that and in between the review petition had to be disposed of to pave the way for restoration of trial.

Similarly, resolutions was passed that every High Court had special Benches to dispose old matters with them for more than 10 years, special courts at the lower level must deal with petty offence cases, hear criminal cases on priority in view of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails, computerisation of courts and financial autonomy to Chief Justices of High Courts so that infrastructure and strength of judges with subordinate courts was improved.

On the question of financial autonomy, the CJI said Chief Ministers of a majority of states were agreeable but some had certain reservations.

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