Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, while speaking at the Conference of the Chief Ministers of States and Chief Justices of High Courts, emphasized on remedial measures for affordable and timely justice to be made available to common man. This required total paradigm shift in our judicial process and management of litigation. This is necessary to speed up disposal of cases and providing justice at minimum cost to litigants especially to poor rural population, he said.
While addressing the Conference held here under chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Gujarat Chief Minister said that there were several constrains like lack of adequate infrastructure, manpower (judicial officers), efficient evaluating and monitoring system, adequate flow of funds and easy accessibility etc. which came in the way of effective management of litigation but these problems need to be addressed by all of us. Focusing on the issues of prioritization of cases that requires urgent attention, particularly on criminal cases, he said that it was worth attempting to evolve a system where matters of serious implications to the Society and country were given priority in trials rather than taking up the same as per regular schedule.
While deliberating on judicial reforms, Shri Modi suggested training of law students, in line with Business Management students, with specialization in specific areas so as to deal with complex cases involving criminal cases, business & commercial cases etc. should be considered. This would provide new blood to the system while budding lawyers and future judges get worthwhile exposure. He also recommended for consideration of “CJI of India Fellowship Programme” in the Law Universities for grooming of young lawyers and future jurists. He also suggested that the Union, the State Governments and Judiciary should come up with a comprehensive plan of action as justice matters all and it was keystone of our democratic system.
He called for setting up judicial impact assessment like impact assessment of any other development or infrastructure project. It was possible when certain parameters or benchmarks were set up before taking up the assessment. The Union Govt and the Supreme Court should take up a pilot project under which 100 judgments at Taluka level, 50 judgments at district level, 25 judgments at High Court Level and 10 judgments at Supreme court level may be selected to make an assessment as to how these judgments have impacted the society. Similarly such judgments may be also selected to make assessment which has adversely affected the interests of the society and the state. It is important as we all are responsible to protect the public and national interest.
Implementation of computerization in the subordinate courts, Shri Modi appraised that the State Government had allotted Rs.19.13 crores in last five years. Gujarat High Court has in place a well organized computerized facilities for benefit of all stakeholders. The High Court, City Civil Court at Ahmedabad, District Courts in Rajkot and Patan have launched their websites. Patan has even single window system. In short time, all taluka courts will be fully computerized in State, he added.
Gujarat is celebrating its golden jubilee year in 2010 for which an ambitious target is set to achieve Zero pendency of cases. This will ensure that every litigation that is registered in any court comes up for hearing in the same year.
The State has also taken initiatives to restrict inflow of litigation by holding “Lok Adalats” for pre-litigation cases and launching effective schemes like “Swagat”, “Samras gram”, Trith gram”, “Pawan gram”, “Nari Adalat” etc. Speedy disposal of cases through steps like functioning of Evening Courts, reduction of the vacation period of subordinate courts from 42 days to 30 days and increase in daily working hours of subordinate courts have proved beneficial. The result is seen in the steady decline of arrears and increased disposal of cases, he informed.
Gujarat Law Minister Shri Amitbhai Shah, Chief Justice of Gujarat High Courts Shri R. Radhakrishan, Registrar General of High Court Mr P P Bhatt, Resident Commissioner Shri Prem Kumar Gera, Secretary to CM Shri G.C. Murmu and Law Secretary Shri M H Shah attended the conference.