Report by Santanu Ganguly, Mumbai: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has stressed the need for delivering timely justice to millions of people in our country at affordable cost, and said that his government is committed to working with the judiciary to bring about improvements in the justice delivery system.
Speaking at the concluding function of the Sesquicentennial Celebrations of the Bombay High Court, at the NCPA in Mumbai today, Dr. Manmohan Singh said “Judiciary has a very direct role in this task- that of upholding the Rule of Law and ensuring that the people of India enjoy their Fundamental Rights like the Right to Life and Personal Liberty, Right to Equality etc.”
The Prime Minister said, the government has launched the national Mission for Justice Delivery with the twin objectives of increasing access by reducing delays and arrears and enhancing accountability. He informed that a comprehensive proposal has been formulated for establishment of an All India Judicial Service. He also said a Constitution Amendment Bill for raising the age of retirement of Judges of the High Courts is now before the Parliament.
Dr Manmohan Singh observed that the rapid economic growth that our country has seen in the last two decades has made the task of justice delivery even more complex, more specialized and more challenging.
“An Inter Ministerial Group is examining what amendments in the Negotiable Instrument Act are needed, along with other measures, to check increasing litigation arising out of cases of bouncing of cheques. A group under the Chairman of Law Commission is looking at the improvements that are required in court procedure and processes for a better criminal justice system” the Prime Minister added.
Role of Bombay High Court in enriching the Indian legal system
On the historic occasion of completion of 150 years, Prime Minister recalled the contribution of the Bombay High Court in establishing a sound legal system in India. ”Its land-mark decisions have contributed to a legal and jurisprudential architecture of fairness, freedom, social justice and human rights. Its celebrated judgments in specialized branches of law such as intellectual property, cyber laws, securities and banking law, corporate laws and international commercial arbitration have vastly enriched our understanding of the evolving legal regime in these areas” said Dr. Singh.
Chief Justice of India, Justice S H Kapadia spoke on judicial integrity and also stressed the need for maintaining judicial independence. He said the turf war between judiciary and executive arises because the judiciary is guided by the morality of law, while the executive is guided by the philosophy of utilitarianism. He said, after 1974, there are very few instances where the judiciary has set aside legislations, while most of its judgements are aimed at correcting executive actions.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan outlined the efforts made by his government in speeding up justice delivery system, including establishment of fast track courts.
The highlight of the Sesquicentennial Celebration was an enactment of handing over of charge by the last British Chief Justice to the first Indian Chief Justice, M C Chagla, on the momentous occasion of independence, by unfurling the Indian National Flag. The act was presented by the troupe of Quasar Padamsee.
Maharashtra Governor, K Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Goa B V Wanchoo, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar, Attorney General Goolam Vahanavaty and Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Justice Mohit S Shah were among those present.
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