Appointment of Judges Delayed by NJAC Row: CJI
HYDERABAD: There is an urgent need to fill judge posts as 450 posts are already lying vacant and 50 more vacancies will arise soon, chief justice of India TS Thakur has said.
“Access to justice cannot be achieved and justice cannot be delivered to people if judge posts lie vacant. Judges appointments was held up for over a year due to the controversial National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). But as things have resolved know, I hope Union Government expedites the process,” said TS Thakur speaking at the inaugural of a two-day all-India conference of the State Legal Services Authorities here on Saturday.
“Union minister for law and justice DV Sadananda Gowda understood the situation and initiated the process of appointing judges. In a span of four to six weeks we will complete the appointment of 163 judges. Already, 130 names have been cleared, 90 of them as permanent judges and 40 as fresh appointments. The remaining names will be soon cleared as appointment of judges is essential for clearing pending cases. Not filling up judges post amounts to denial of justice to people,” he said.
“In this milieu, the work done by Legal Services Authorities (LSAs) is very significant as they cleared about 62 lakh pending cases and 1.60 crore cases in pre-litigation stage last year. LSAs have not only been making ‘access to justice’ a reality but also relieving courts of enormous burden and pressure. The cases cleared by LSAs would probably land up in courts if LSAs were to wind up. Imagine the situation if more than two crore additional cases land up in courts every year? Courts will be literally choked.”
Thakur, who is also the patron-in-chief of National Legal Services Authority (NLSA), spoke about the challenges being faced by them. “The most important challenge being faced by LSAs is lack of awareness among the poor and marginalised sections of people about rights.
LSAs should overcome this challenge by using the media and working in association with bar associations, educational institutions and NGOs among others. There is a misconception that justice delivered through LSAs is not quality justice. By creating awareness, LSAs should fight these challenges,” he said.
“More than 30 percent of the population is below poverty line in India. That is about 40 crore people, which is a very big constituency. Also, consider the vulnerable sections of people like the poor, women and labourers in unorganised sectors, among others, who do not have access to justice. Keeping in view the enormous number of marginalised people who do not have access to justice, LSAs have a great role to play and need to live up to the expectations,” he said.
Union minister of law and justice DV Sadananda Gowda said an amount of Rs 140 crore was allotted for 2016-17 to strengthen the LSAs.
“Besides striving to make ‘access to justice’ a reality, LSAs are reaching out to vulnerable sections like women trapped in sex trade, unorganised workers, undertrials in jails and others.
In spite of the efforts, the duties of LSAs are far from discharged. Lok Adalats, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation should be further strengthened,” Gowda said.
A legal literacy book for the visually- impaired, an Android app of State Legal Services Authority of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were launched on the occasion.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, Supreme Court judge and executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority justice Anil R Dave, SC judge justice NV Ramana, High Court chief justice Dilip B Bhosale were also present.