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Prez: Make judiciary transparent

Mumbai, June 27
President Pratibha Singh Patil on Saturday emphasised the need for reforms to make the judiciary transparent, effective and people-oriented.

“Judicial reforms could include revising many of our legal codes and laws which are outdated and old as well as strengthening the institutional aspects of the judiciary,” the president said.

The exercise would require the government, the legislature and the judiciary to work together to make justice dispensing “people-oriented”, Patil said, while inaugurating the Maharashtra Judicial Academy (MJA) at Uttan, today.

The president said the present era of information and communication technology brought with it a “higher level of scrutiny” of all institutions and their performance.

“The people are constantly judging the conduct and delivery of the services of institutions. They respect and repose great hope in the judiciary. Hence, it is important for the judiciary to remain in the high esteem of the people, to be seen as being capable of maintaining high standards of probity and good functioning,” the president urged.

Expressing concern over the huge backlog of cases afflicting the Indian Judicial system (there are an estimated 20 million cases pending in courts across the country), she called for devising innovative approaches - like Alternative Dispute Settlement Mechanism - to tackle the issue.

“This mechanism is not new to us and similar to the panchayat justice system prevalent in villages. The modern-day mediation also strives for a solution acceptable to all parties, it’s a voluntary process, rarely reopened, reduces the possibility of corruption and is cost-effective,” she said.

Towards this end, she expressed her happiness that the MJA would have a Mediation Centre and Training Institute that would impart relevant tools for effective mediation of national and international disputes.

She called upon the MJA to give lot of focus on cyber laws, environmental laws and intellectual property rights while stressing the need for gender sensitivity.

The MJA, set up by the Bombay High Court, will provide training to higher and the lower judicial services, aim to upgrade their skills and broaden their knowledge base.

The President, on a three-day visit of Mumbai, inaugurated the MJA and the training centre in the presence of Governor SC Jamir, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swantater Kumar, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and other dignitaries. — IANS

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