Archive for July 10, 2010

to do away with vacations in the Supreme Court and the High Courts

The former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer’s exhortation to Union Law Minister to do away with vacations in the Supreme Court and the High Courts is welcome. It is time the Law Ministry acted on the advice of the distinguished judge. It is shocking to learn that judges work for only 180 days and the High Courts 200 days a year. When the volume of pending cases is mounting, judicial officers should voluntarily come forward to remove the vacation rule.

V.K.R. Raghavan,


An amendment to the Constitution to do away with the vacations, as suggested by Justice Iyer, is absolutely necessary if the judiciary is serious about speeding up justice. On this subject, the apex court should take note of the great contribution of Justice Chandru, in setting an example by clearing around 17,000 cases per month, at an average, from the time he has taken charge. As reported in the Frontline magazine, he has also delivered many landmark judgments during this period. Perhaps the Supreme Court can make a study of the methods adopted by Justice Chandru, during his dedicated justice-rendering endeavours. All these efforts, along with the improvement of infrastructure and increase in the strength of judges would go a long way in helping remove the stigma of “justice delayed is justice denied.”

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Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court P.D. Dinakaran is being shifted

It is now final. Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court P.D. Dinakaran is being shifted as Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, despite protests by the Sikkim Bar Association. He is facing charges if land-grab.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, however, declined the government’s request to reconsider the recommendations made on April 8 to shift the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, Barin Ghosh, as Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court.

But the collegium — which included Justices Altamas Kabir, R.V. Raveendran, Dalveer Bhandari and D.K. Jain — accepted the government’s request to retain the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, Kurian Joseph, in the same court instead of shifting him to the Jharkhand High Court, as originally recommended.

The earlier collegium, headed by the former CJI, K.G. Balakrishnan, recommended that Justice Meenakumari of the Andhra Pradesh High Court be appointed Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. But since Justice Joseph is to be retained in the same court, her elevation has been deferred for now.

The inordinate delay in effecting the transfers was due to a question raised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the desirability of shifting Chief Justices within few months of their taking charge. It was pointed out that while Justice Ghosh took over as Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court in April, Justice Joseph took over as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court in February. The Law Ministry returned the file to the collegium for consideration afresh.

According to highly placed sources, though the collegium agreed to retain Justice Joseph in the same High Court, it did not yield to the request regarding Justice Ghosh as it would have resulted in a chain of further transfers.

Justice Dinakaran, who has not been performing judicial work for nearly eight months, will perform his duties in the Sikkim High Court. Chief Justice J.S. Khehar of the Uttarakhand High Court will replace Justice Dinakaran in the Karnataka High Court.


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Do away with court vacations, Moily urged

The former Supreme Court Judge, V.R. Krishna Iyer, has urged Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily to bring in a constitutional amendment for doing away with the vacations of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

In a letter to the Minster, Mr. Iyer said: “Arrears of dockets are mounting and unless this inflation is arrested the judicial institution will collapse… our judges work only for 180 days in a year and the High Court 200 days. Having regard to the huge arrears mounting year after year and the handsome increase in the salaries and perks judges now enjoy, it is fair as a patriotic commitment to the nation for judges to abolish the vacation. Let them be content with what other senior public servants enjoy… Nehru had demanded that all public servants work harder and judges are no exception. I, as Law Minister, forced the Kerala High Court judges to work for 10 days more. They first declined. Then I moved to amend the High Court Act and then judges surrendered.”


Mr. Iyer, while urging the Minister to act quickly on a representation filed by Fiat Justicia, an organisation of lawyers, pointed out that a petition filed by the organisation was dismissed by the High Court. “Now it is for Parliament to make the higher court, including the Supreme Court, work without vacation,” he said.

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“Court sitting on holidays only if litigants, lawyers agree”

The Madras High Court on Thursday said only if the parties concerned to the proceedings or their respective advocates agree for listing their cases on holidays, their cases would be posted on holidays in Family Courts here.

Even after the cases are listed, if any party or counsel made a request, their case would be adjourned to a convenient date, Registrar-General, S. Vimala stated in a release.

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Judge hits century in writing law books

In a rare feat, Justice P.S. Narayana of the A.P. High Court wrote 100 books pertaining to law and stood on the threshold entering the popular Limca Book of Records for second time.

Pursuing his passion of writing books on law, a path tread rarely, even while delivering judgments, Justice Narayana bettered his own record. He had already secured an entry in the Limca book by authoring maximum of 84 books, a few years ago. And now by adding 16 more books to his credit, he took the score to 100, worthy of another mention.

Speaking at a function organised by the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh and High Court Advocates Association to felicitate him, he wanted judges and advocates to strive for better justice delivery system. He recalled his earlier days of practice in Chittoor district and said he felt happy as the books he authored have helped the advocates to improve the academic standards.

D. Prakash Reddy, President of Advocates Association along with his fellow members honoured the judge.

Advocate General, D.V. Seetha Rama Murthy and senior advocate, L. Ravichander said that the bench and the bar immensely benefited from the books and commentaries authored by Justice Narayana. They complimented him for being generous and sympathetic to the younger members of profession. All India Lawyers Union, Nyayavadi Parishad and several younger members of bar praised him for his knowledge of law and as writer.


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Special relationship yes, but no opening up legal sector yet: Moily

Union Minister for Law and Justice Veerappa Moily on Saturday ruled out an early decision on Britain’s long-standing demand for access to India’s legal market saying that the Government could not bulldoze the country’s more than one million lawyers into accepting foreign competition overnight.

Mr. Moily’s remarks came ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to India in a few weeks when he is expected to press New Delhi on this and other ‘protectionist’ measures.

Mr. Cameron’s decision to go to India barely weeks after assuming office is being portrayed here as a reflection of his desire to build a “special” or “enhanced” relationship with it but, apparently, it comes with a price tag that New Delhi may not be able to afford politically.

Mr. Moily made clear that the Government would not impose a decision on the legal community and pointed out that even Britain took a long time before opening up its legal sector to Americans.

“There are more than one million lawyers in India and we have to carry them with us,” he said.

He said the Bar Council was preparing a “roadmap” but he was not willing to say when it would be ready and implemented.

“I don’t want to get into that,” he said firmly.

Mr. Moily, however, stressed that the issue should not be allowed to distract from the efforts of the two countries to raise the level of their relationship. India “enthusiastically” welcomed the Cameron government’s desire to build a “special” relationship, he said describing his own talks in London as “very warm, cordial and fruitful.”

During his three-day visit at the invitation of the Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke, he had wide-ranging discussions on “enhancing collaboration between the judicial and legal systems of the two countries by sharing mutual experiences.”

“Mr. Kenneth Clark told me about the high regard he has for our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and how much he admires the transformation that has taken place in India particularly in the Indian economy under Dr. Singh’s leadership. Mr. Clark also acknowledged India’s ‘powerful regard for the rule of law’ and spoke of the challenges the Indian judicial system faces,’’ he said.

Mr. Moily also met the Chief Justice of the newly-created Supreme Court and other senior legal figures.

Replying to questions at a press conference, he denied a “split’’ in the Cabinet over proposals to deal with the so-called “honour killings’’ though he acknowledged that there may be different views on how to deal the problem.


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Lack of settlement culture leading to high pendency: CJI

Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia on Saturday said setting up of commercial courts to achieve quick disposal of cases is being considered as other judges of the apex court favoured promotion of alternative dispute resolution mechanism to reduce the burden on courts.

Speaking at a seminar on mediation, Justice Kapadia blamed lack of settlement culture in the country for the rise in pendency of cases and people not preferring out-of-court resolution of disputes.

“We are thinking of setting up commercial courts,” he said.

Speaking about huge arrears of cases in courts, Justice Kapadia said “in India we, do not have a settlement culture. People are not picking settlement culture (in India).

“Mediation and arbitration as a mode of dispute settlement is popular and successful in other countries,” he said.

“We must understand the value of time. This is one of the areas we need to focus on how to promote that culture,” he said.

Other Supreme Court judges at the conference also expressed similar views and emphasised the need to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanism to reduce the pressure on courts.

“Nobody can be blamed for the load of work we have. But we have to find a solution to get out of this mess,” Justice Altamas Kabir, the senior-most judge, said.

“It has become difficult to pay attention to the cases which deserve attention because of increasing number of cases.

“Space is to be created in courts to deal with cases which cannot be resolved through mediation like criminal, election and administrative cases,” Justice R.V. Raveendran said.

“We need to have space to focus on important cases,” he said.


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