Tag Archive | Singh

PM Underscores Tackling Corruption In Judiciary – By Mukesh Jhangiani

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh (Photo: Wikipedia)

                                                            March 11, 2006

PM Underscores Tackling Corruption In Judiciary*

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

New Delhi (UNI) – Corruption in the judiciary and court delays were counted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today among common litigants’ problems that must be examined and remedied.

”Instances of corruption have now begun to surface in our judicial system, too,” Dr Singh remarked, opening a conference of state chief ministers and high court chief justices at Vigyan Bhavan.

The conference centring on Justice: Accelerated and Affordable heard a keynote address by Chief Justice Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal promising ”zero tolerance” to corruption and a welcome address by Law and Justice Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj.

The Prime Minister emphasised that ”an important aspect of the reform and modernisation of the judiciary and improving the incentive mechanism, is to tackle corruption in the judiciary.”

Dr Singh said the prosecution trend where cases ”fall because witnesses turn hostile or change their evidence is causing concern to ever increasing sections of society.”

The allusion applied to the infamous Jessica Lal case outcome– absolving all nine accused in a murder committed in a packed bar room seven years ago.

The outcome sent a wave of shock across the nation, leading to calls for an effective system of justice which actually punishes criminals and violators and relieves victims.

The widespread public concern was acknowledged by the Prime Minister who stressed ”need for all of us to reflect whether the existing procedures are adequate and foolproof.”

Dr Singh called for an introspection ”whether we are using all available provisions to prevent deviant behaviour and whether we need new provisions in law so that the justice system is seen to deliver justice.”

Speaking as a ”lay man,” the Prime Minister said ”apart from delay in settlement of cases, lengthy court procedures, frequent adjournments, evidence taking procedures, corruption in the judiciary is also a problem of public concern that we must address.”

Dr Singh referred to the ever mounting court case arrears– currently close to 30 million– a problem which ”requires urgent attention.”

Acknowledging that the ”criminal justice delivery system appears to be on the verge of collapse due to diverse reasons,” Justice Sabharwal asserted that ”some of the responsibility will have to be shared by the executive branch of the state.

”Not much has been done for improvement of the investigative and prosecution machinery. Significant suggestions for separation of investigative wing from law and order duties and changes in rules of evidence still lie unattended.”

Justice Sabharwal noted that the public outrage over the failure of the criminal justice system in some recent high profile cases ”must shake us all up into the realisation that something needs to be urgently done to revamp the whole process, though steering clear of knee jerk reactions, remembering that law is a serious business.”

Justice Sabharwal said the main reason for persistent pendencies ”is huge increase in new cases instituted,” adding that it reflected ”more awareness and more rights created by numerous new legislations.”

But he cautioned that if the huge arrears of about three crores in high courts and subordinate courts is not tackled now there would be ”no magic wand available to tackle the menace” when they climb to three and a half crores or four crores. ”We have to turn the tide now. It is now or never.”

Justice Sabharwal said while judiciary was held responsible for mounting arrears, it neither has any control on resources of funds nor any powers to create additional courts or hire staff.

He suggested giving high courts at least ‘limited financial autonomy’ and backing up judicial efforts to bring about urgent legal reforms so as to galavanise the system to ”provide complete justice” instead of subjecting vital proposals for procedural laws to endless debates.

The Chief Justice said the judiciary ”craves for full support from the government. The process of appointments of judges in the high courts at the level of government needs to be expedited.”

He said the topic of corruption was a burning issue in all spheres of public life. The judiciary was committed to continue cleansing itself by coming down with a heavy hand on unscrupulous elements that may exist within and also by removing the deadwood. ”We have adopted a policy of zero tolerance on this subject.”

Referring to the outcomes of past such conferences, Justice Sabharwal said, ”we have been cajoled enough to sit up and take notice. It is time we proceeded to stand up and take action.”

The delays in filling judicial vacancies was acknowledged by the Law and Justice Minister who said the working strength of judges in courts needed to be ”optimised.”

Mr Bhardwaj said that ”though there are still about 100 vacancies of judges to be filled up in various high courts, we could achieve (an) all time high of incumbency, which is 560.”

India’s 21 high courts between them have a total sanctioned strength of close to 700, but remain perennially underfilled.

Mr Bhardwaj said that in district and subordinate courts, too, 2,655 of 14,305 judicial posts were vacant and urged participants to take timely action to fill up vacancies.

Earlier, the Prime Minister urged the Chief Justice and his colleagues to ”lead and guide the judiciary to achieve the formidable goal of reducing pendency and providing speedier and more affordable justice to the common man.”

Dr Singh declared the central government’s ”full support” in this endeavour and also urged the Chief Ministers to make available the necessary infrastructure needed by courts to ensure their effective functioning.

He stressed the need to maintain credibility of the system, improve the utilisation of existing laws and regulations, effective mechanism to ensure judicial accountability and a balanced approach in taking up PIL cases.

Underlining the need to exercise restraint in judicial activism, Dr Singh observed that it must also take adequately into account the administrative viability of the reform process.

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Rampant Corruption Damages Public Sphere: Thinker – By Mukesh Jhangiani

December 22, 2010

Rampant Corruption Damages Public Sphere: Thinker*

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

New Delhi (UNI) – The value of ethics was underscored by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he honoured two of India’s leading philosophers at Vigyan Bhavan today.

”Ethics should be an important element in the curriculum of professional schools,” Dr Singh said, conferring lifetime achievement awards on Prof Rajangam Balasubramanian and Prof Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya.

Both men were chosen by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research with Awards for Distinguished Life Time Achievement In Philosophy.
Congratulating the recipients, Dr Singh noted the ”truly outstanding” scholarship and intellectual accomplishments of ”these eminent philosophers.”
A former ICPR chairman and a Central Minister and Governor, Prof Chattopadhyaya has been engaged in ”the mammoth project on the History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture that he initiated,” Dr Singh said.
He said he had ”the privilege of working with him when he was the Commerce Minister.”
Prof Chattopadhyaya did not attend the ceremony for health reasons.
”Prof Balasubramanian is an equally distinguished philosopher whose scholarship in classical Indian thought and modern interpretation of Advaita philosophy have received world-wide acclaim.”
In an interview afterwards, Prof Balasubramanian said his study of phenomenology ”helps me to understand my own traditions in a better way.”
Asked to relate his pursuit to these times, Prof Balasubramanian, better known as RB, thought for a moment and then remarked how rampant corruption is doing ”damage to the public sphere.”
”In the political situation the kind of corruption which is rampant… you start somewhere and then you find it goes on like a cancerous growth… it is prevalent everywhere.”
The consequence, he pointed out, was the ”damage to the public sphere.”
In reply to another question, Prof Balasubramanian said ”in practice divide and rule is functioning… in the name of the caste system. It is being perpetuated.”
”What is happening is the self-aggrandisement of politicians… (What is not happening is) public life probity and responsibility to the people,” Prof Balasubramanian said.
He decried the tendency to blame electors, pointing out they merely act in good faith. What is wrong is the abuse of the faith they repose in their representatives.
As to a remedy, he said, it was not very clear, adding that even if it is clear the question is who will implement it.
He acknowledged the importance of deterrence in law, but said implementation was a problem.