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Replacement of collegium system, speedy disposal of cases on Gowda’s priority list
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 19
Law Minister Sadananda Gowda today unveiled his agenda specifying the issues that would be given priority by the Narendra Modi government. Gowda said the move to put in place the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) was on top of his to-do list to replace the present collegium system for appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges.

The government would take further steps on NJAC immediately after the enabling Constitution amendment, which had been approved by Parliament, was ratified by the Assemblies of half of the 29 states as required under law, Gowda told reporters. Besides writing letters to the Chief Ministers, he had also spoken to the state chief secretaries to get this ratified in the winter session of their respective assemblies.

Gowda, who took over the law and justice portfolio on November 10, said the government was working on a new National Litigation Policy for speedy disposal of cases in order to reduce the number of pending cases placed at over 30 million. The policy would have its focus on minimising inter-ministerial and inter-departmental litigation and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and conciliation, besides cases pertaining to bounced cheques and accidents. The strength of HC judges had been raised by from 906 to 1,112, and efforts were on fill up the vacancies. Steps were on to create separate HCs for Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. About 1,200 obsolete laws would be repealed.

A fresh Bill would be introduced in Parliament to remove the difficulties being faced by women in getting divorce and help them get adequate maintenance by granting discretionary powers to the judiciary. The earlier Bill, which had been passed in the Rajya Sabha, had lapsed following the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.





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