President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said Indian judicial system established decades ago require major changes.
Speaking after receiving the first copy of a book: “Judicial Reforms – Recent Global Trends” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after its formal release, Mukherjee pointed out that no reform is possible without adequate infrastructure.
“Our judicial system established decades ago require major changes. Reform is a continuous process. It cannot be stop and go. Every system develops clogs. There is need for constant change,” Mukherjee said.
“It is high time for everyone to not just think but also act on judicial reforms.”
The President pointed out that no reform is possible without adequate infrastructure. He said in his entire period as the President, the Allahabad High Court which is the largest in the country had less than 50 percent of its sanctioned posts of 180 judges filled.
“If this situation of the higher judiciary is so bad, one can imagine the conditions of the lower judiciary. State and Union Governments should work hand in hand to address the shortage of basic infrastructure such as courtrooms and essential facilities for judges,” he said.
Modi meanwhile said the law universities should have talent which takes into account fast-paced technological changes and works towards laws that can stand the test of time.
“Our law universities should have that kind of talent to look at all the issues at hand and then work,” he said after releasing the book.
Modi said India need to bring about faster changes to have its voice heard in the changing global order as it has a golden opportunity to fill the vacuum due to latest changes in the global scenario.
“Our aim should not only to hold up in the changing global order but we should have our voice also. And it will happen when we will become powerful and our policies, rules; behaviour will be in accordance with the expectation of the world. So we will have to bring about faster changes to overcome the challenges,” Modi said.
He also said it would have been good if Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar had continued to hold the position for some more time (beyond his tenure) since the latter took speedy decisions.
Khehar, who was also present at the event, meanwhile said the top court will function within its limits.
Assuring that the top court will not venture into others’ domain, he said: “Sometimes it is not a pleasant experience to have an order set aside or altered or changed or modified; but for that we assure you we will keep within our boundary.”
On the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges, Justice Khekhar said it is expected to be finalised in two weeks.
The book was brought out by the India International Law Foundation and is the outcome of a Seminar on “Recent Trends in Judicial Reforms: A Global Perspective” held here in January 2013.