Tag Archive | Senior Advocate

Spread Word About Legal Aid – Apex Court Judge – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                                     October 19, 2008

Spread Word About Legal Aid – Apex Court Judge*

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

New Delhi (UNI) – Hoping to serve ”global legal community’s interest in India more effectively,” a New Delhi-based law publisher has been reminded of tasks at home– spreading word about legal aid, for one.

The suggestion from Supreme Court Judge Altamas Kabir came at a function this week celebrating the 4-month-old merger of Britain’s LexisNexis Butterworths with Indian law book publisher Wadhwa Nagpur.

A lot of people in India are not aware of the existence of legal aid cells in the country, said Justice Kabir, citing an instance of information people ought to have.
He said with the development of information technology industry and globalisation of laws, the legal and judicial fraternity in India frequently refer to legal developments and literature from abroad.
Justice Kabir touched on changes with which the Indian legal system must cope– and the consequent demands they pose, voicing hope that the company’s content suite will aid in the process.
The event was attended among others by Law Commission of India Chairman A R Lakshmanan, Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah and Senior Advocate K K Venugopal.
India has some 14,000 judicial officers presiding in courts and almost a million lawyers enrolled with the nation’s statutory Bar Councils.
Dr Justice Lakshmanan hailed the merger, saying the new entity would provide the best local and global content to Indian legal industry.
Justice Shah emphasised the need for easy access to information from various sources for providing litigants speedy justice given the rapidly growing volume of cases as well as arrears.
Noting the importance Indian courts give precedents, Justice Shah said systematic and comprehensive online databases and efficient law reporting would help lawyers and the judiciary serve people better.
Venugopal said a comprehensive database as a ‘readyreckoner’ was imperative for Indian lawyers and law students– given the value of knowledge and the high costs of journals or classics.
He suggested that the publishers focus on producing quality legal journals that can generate discussions on Indian laws, judiciary and the legal system.
The event marked the launch of DD Basu’s Shorter Constitution of India by Justice Kabir, first anniversary issue of Halsbury’s Law Monthly by Justice Shah and an Online LexisNexis Bookstore by Dr Justice Lakshmanan.
LexisNexis Group’s New York-based Senior Vice President Robert Rigby-Hall– the new company’s Managing Director– promised ”richer, more comprehensive solutions to the Indian legal industry.”
These, he said, would include integrated content from key markets such as the United States, Britain and Australia and could play a crucial role in such reforms as digitisation of courts and bringing efficiency into the Indian legal profession.
A statement by the Wadhwa Brothers of Wadhwa Nagpur said ”The merger will add significant value to the Indian legal market and enable us to serve the global legal community’s interest in India more effectively.
”With increased global demand for Indian legal content, and emergence of the Legal Process Outsourcing industry, it is an exciting opportunity to make Wadhwa Nagpur content available to the worldwide marketplace,” it said.
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UPA Govt Seized Of Law Commission’s 25-Year-Old Idea ! – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                                                August 18, 2011 

English: Ashoke Kumar Sen at the United Nation...

Ashoke Kumar Sen, former Law and Justice Minister, to whom the Law Commission of India submitted its Report No. 116 on Formation of an All India Judicial Service on November 27, 1986 (Photo: Wikipedia)

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

New Delhi (UNI) – Twenty-five years after experts suggested an All India Judicial Service to draw the best talent to judiciary, the United Progressive Alliance government is seized of the matter, Parliament was informed today.

The government is seized of the matter of creation of an All India Judicial Service under Article 312 of the Constitution, Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

He was answering Bharatiya Janata Party member from Rajasthan Arjun Ram Meghwal and Indian National Congress member from Haryana Shruti Choudhry who drew attention to a Law Commission recommendation made in 1986.

The two Members wanted to know whether the government intends to introduce the said Service, the timeframe set for its introduction, and, if not, the reasons therefor.

In his reply, Khurshid acknowledged the Commission findings that such a service would also serve as a powerful unifying influence and counteract growing regional tendencies.

He said the process of creating it requires a Resolution to be passed by the Rajya Sabha enabling Parliament to enact necessary laws.

He did not say when that and any subsequent requirements might be carried out.

In reply to another question, Khurshid said the government has examined various options — including National Judicial Commission– to address the issues concerning appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.

However, no specific proposal has been finalised, the Minister said.

Over the past many years, selection for appointment of Supreme Court and High Court Judges has been made by a Judges collegium but questions have arisen owing to complaints over conduct and persistent vacancies.

The Rajya Sabha, for instance, took an unprecedented step this afternoon to approve an impeachment motion against Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen who is accused of having misappropriated funds while he was a lawyer before his elevation.

The motion will next be considered in the Lok Sabha, and, if approved, go to the President, the appointing authority, for the Judge’s removal from office.

The last Parliament was close to impeaching a Judge was in the 1990s when it considered corruption allegations against former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice V Ramaswami defended by then senior advocate Kapil Sibal.

The move in the Lok Sabha fell through then with Indian National Congress members abstaining, an instance cited ever since by critics as proof that impeachment was not a sound way to ensure accountability.

Khurshid was answering Meghwal and Communist Party of India (Marxist) member from Kerala M B Rajesh and INC member from Lakshadweep Hamdullah Sayeed on steps to improve judical service quality and standards.

The Members asked if the government proposed to introduce a constitutional code of conduct for Judges and a mechanism for periodical assessment of Judges performance.

Khurshid said the UPA government introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha in December 2010 to ensure accountability and transparency in the higher judiciary.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 incorporates a mechanism for enquiring into complaints against Supreme Court and High Court Judges and makes way for Judges to declare their assets and liabilities, besides setting standards for them to follow, he said.

The Minister gave no timeframe as to its enactment.

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India ‘Much More Divided’ Now Than By British: Rao – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                 December 4, 2009

Article 14 - Equality Before Law - At India Gate  -  By Mukesh Jhangiani

Article 14 – Equality Before Law – At India Gate – By Mukesh Jhangiani

India ‘Much More Divided’ Now Than By British: Rao

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India
New Delhi (UNI) – Fifty nine years after resolving to promote fraternity among citizens, India is ”much more divided today” than during the British rule, a leading Indian advocate observed this evening.

The British policy of ‘divide and rule’– playing Hindus against Muslims and vice versa– ”was limited,” Senior Advocate P P Rao noted while delivering the tenth G V Mavalankar Memorial Lecture.
”Now, quite a few political parties thrive by relying on caste and community,” Rao pointed out, concluding that, ”India is much more divided today than during the alien rule.”
The Lecture, Reinforcing Institutions Of Governance, was sponsored by the Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies, and presided over by retired Supreme Court Judge B P Singh who traced the decline in Indian public life through lapses in efficiency and integrity.
Rao recalled Dr S Radhakrishnan describing India at the inaugural sitting of the Constituent Assembly as ”a symphony where there are… different instruments… all combining to interpret one particular score.”
Dr B R Ambedkar, he recalled, was emphatic that ”castes are anti-national… in the first place because they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste.”
”In 1950,” Rao said, ”we the people of India had resolved to promote fraternity among all citizens and promote unity and integrity of the nation. Now we find we are divided by the political class on caste and community lines for electoral gains.
”The British policy of ‘divide and rule’ was limited; playing Hindus against Muslims and vice versa. Now, quite a few political parties thrive by relying on caste and community. India is much more divided today than during the alien rule.”
Rao stressed a need for unity and reminded that former Vice-President Krishan Kant had suggested two simple amendments to the election law to eliminate the influence of caste and community in elections.
— Introduce a condition that in order to be declared elected from a constituency a candidate shall secure not less than 50 per cent + 1 votes of the total votes polled, failing which, there shall be a run off election limiting the contest to the two leading candidates in the first round; and
— Add one more slot in the ballot paper for negative vote– for rejecting all the candidates contesting.
”If a majority of the votes polled reject all the candidates there shall be a fresh election with new faces. If these are implemented, reliance on caste and community will vanish silently,” Rao said.
Remembering Lok Sabha’s first Speaker, Rao said, ”Mavalankar was a statesman… What is the position of the Speaker’s office today? It is perhaps one of the most challenging of all political offices, notwithstanding the additional power to adjudicate claims of disqualification of members under the Tenth Schedule.
”We saw on the TV the predicament of my friend Mr Somnath Chatterjee during the debate on the no-confidence motion last year. It was much more difficult than that of a Ring Master in a circus.
”The objectionable conduct of some Speakers of State Legislative Assemblies has been disapproved by the Supreme Court. Many Speakers in State Assemblies do not inspire confidence. The fall in standards is too glaring to ignore.
”Experts have rightly recommended shifting the power of disqualification to the Election Commission. It needs to be done as part of a package of legislative and executive reforms.”
Rao called regulation of political parties ”a felt necessity today” and recited Nani A Palkhivala’s view that ”If experts imbued with a spirit of dedication and wisdom were to be inducted into the cabinet and were to be allowed the requisite freedom of action, we could transform this country into one of the great economic powers.”
On linguistic chauvinism of the sort exhibited in Maharashtra, Rao said ”I cannot understand how this attitude can be tolerated by any Government.”
He recounted some of the Constitutional provisions:
— Article 14 mandates the State not to deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India;
— Article 16(1) assures equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State; and
— Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees to all citizens the right to move freely throughout the territory of India, to reside and settle in any part thereof, and to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business anywhere in India subject to reasonable restrictions.
”In India we have common citizenship and all Indians are entitled to equal rights, but in the land of the Thackeray’s– Bal Thackeray and Raj Thackeray– Maharashtra is for Maharashtrians; Indian Railways shall recruit only Maharashtrians; all employment opportunities – from the lowest to the highest in public as well as private establishments should be reserved exclusively for Maharashtrians; and every Legislator must take the oath only in Marathi language, otherwise they will let loose their sena’s to paralyse civic life, attack targeted people and destroy their property.
”I cannot understand how this attitude can be tolerated by any Government and how the political parties led by them can be allowed to enjoy the benefit of registration and recognition.
”Justice Sreekrishna Commission report named the leader of Shiv Sena as an accused in the Bombay riots, following the demolition of Babri Masjid. The State Government was reluctant to arrest and prosecute him fearing outbreak of uncontrollable violence.
”This policy has emboldened and encouraged them to become more defiant. It is necessary to amend At.355 to facilitate Central rule in a part of the State to tackle localised outbreak of communal violence in a State like Kandhamal in Orissa.”
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