There is political consensus for broad basing appointment of SC, HC Judges : Law & Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar
Union Minister for Law & Justice, Ashwani Kumar today said in Mumbai that political consensus has been built over the need to broad base the process of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Presently, the judges are appointed by a five judges Supreme Court Collegium. During his interaction with media persons, as part of GoM Media initiative, Mr. Aswhani Kumar said “the present process has not proved to be adequate and there is a need to relook and revisit the issue”.
The Minister said the Law & Justice Ministry is ready with a draft bill for setting up the National Judicial Appointments Commission, which will have legislative representation as well, besides the judiciary. He said wide ranging consultations have been held with political leaders as well as legal experts. Former Chief Justices of India Justice J S Verma and Justice M N Venkatachaliah are among those strongly backing setting up of an independent body for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
Mr. Ashwani Kumar admitted that large number of vacancies in judiciary has had an adverse impact on the justice delivery system. Presently, there are over three crore cases pending in various courts across the country. Mr Kumar said his ministry is taking steps to increase the number of judges as well as fast tracking the appointment process.
Detailing the steps being taken for providing cost effective justice for people, the Minister said a total 182 Gram Nyayalas are being set up at the inter-mediate panchayat level. Out of these, 172 have already become operation. He also informed that over 14000 subordinate courts are being computerized to speed up justice delivery. “Expediting appointment of judges, establishment of e-courts, computerization, fast track courts and other administrative measures will effectively deal with the challenge of slow pace of justice delivery in the country”, he said.
Referring to the issues relating the marital rape, and reducing the age of consensual sex from 18 to 16, Mr.Ashwani Kumar said “there are divergent views, all having considerable weight and therefore they need to be thoroughly debated. The government has an open mind, provided there is political consensus.”
PIB Mum/ MD