Judicial reforms: Fast-tracking of appointments is a must - The Tribune India

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Judicial reforms

Fast-tracking of appointments is a must

Judicial reforms


CHIEF Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud has called for addressing the structural issues affecting the judiciary, such as the pendency of cases, archaic procedures and the culture of adjournments. Speaking at a function to mark the diamond jubilee of the Supreme Court, he stressed upon developing a culture of professionalism. The CJI flagged the contentious issue of long vacations in higher courts and said he was ready for a conversation on alternatives such as flexitime for lawyers and judges.

The pendency of cases in Indian courts crossed the 5-crore mark last year. These include over 4.4 crore cases in district and taluka/tehsil courts and around 62 lakh in high courts. The judiciary has barely 21,000 judges to handle this staggering caseload. The inadequate working strength of judges — well short of the number of sanctioned posts, especially at the district level — has a bearing on the disposal of cases and the delivery of justice. The district judiciary, rightly described by the CJI as the first point of contact for the citizens, is in urgent need of reforms to improve its functioning.

The delay in recommending or approving judicial appointments is a major stumbling block. It was a decade ago that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act was enacted. The legislation had laid down the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending names for appointment as the CJI and Supreme Court judge and the Chief Justice and judge of high courts. However, in 2015, the apex court had struck down the Act as ‘unconstitutional’ and upheld the collegium system of appointments. The NJAC can be made a viable alternative to the existing system, provided the executive and the judiciary are on the same page. With President Droupadi Murmu endorsing the proposed All India Judicial Service a couple of months ago, it’s time to revive the debate on the NJAC and give it a relook.

#Justice DY Chandrachud #Supreme Court


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