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With ‘Sabka Vikas’, there must be ‘Sabka Nyay’, says PM Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expanded his government’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ motto to include ‘Sabka Nyay’, assuring free legal aid for the vulnerable sections of the society.

I believe in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and with that there must be ‘Sabka Nyay,” Modi said, urging that the spread of legal awareness should be merged with awareness about judicial institutions.

“Along with legal awareness, there must be institutional awareness. People must know systems that are in place.”

Addressing the legal fraternity on Legal Services Day, Modi said people were unaware of services rendered by the judiciary and legal in promoting legal literacy and securing the rights of the most disadvantaged sections of the society.

He admitted that he himself was not aware of this dimension of judiciary until now.

Appreciating the more than 8.5 crore cases settled by Lok Adalats since the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) was constituted on December 5, 1995, Modi said they should be part of research projects for students in the national law universities so that they understand their functioning during the course of their education.

He said students should do research on Lok Adalats in different areas and submit their project reports with suggestions.

Pointing out that no institution can remain in a situation of status quo, Modi said everything must change as status quoist situation was fraught with stagnation.

He gave the instance of the successful implementation ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yogna’ where 40 percent people were brought within the fold of country’s banking system by opening their accounts with zero balance.

Recalling the contribution of the NALSA in spreading legal awareness, Justice T.S. Thakur, who will succeed Chief Justice H.L. Dattu as Chief Justice of India on December 3, said: “No system, no society, no polity can survive if you don’t ensure justice to poor.

“It (justice to poor) is upholding the constitutional mandate.”

Justice T.S. Thakur said the settlement of cases through Lok Adalats was not just a win-win situation for parties to the dispute, it also reduced the burden of many cases as matters settled before Lok Adalats cannot be challenged.

He dwelt on the seven areas on which the NALSA will now focus involving women and child trafficking, drug abuse, securing the rights of unorganised workers and mentally sick, effective implementation of poverty alleviation schemes and child friendly legal services.

Justice Anil R. Dave, chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC), pointed to the ever increasing burden of pending litigations in courts, saying one of the reasons was less number of judges.

While in the US, there are 104 judges for every 10 lakh population and 75 judges for 10 lakh people in Canada, Justice Dave said that in India, it was just 15 judges for that many people.

“That is one of the reasons for our arrears,” he said.

Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said every lawyer’s contribution to free legal aid must be counted before designating him as a senior lawyer and subsequently considering him for appointment as a judge.

In his message, Chief Justice Dattu said: “A robust and effective legal system, that fearless upholds the rule, of law is one of the foundational pillars of democracy.”

“It is of equal importance that the legal system itself is democratised, which would ensure that every citizen of our country has equal access to the legal system – equally swift, equally effective and equally impartial.”

Pointing to the “diversity and complexity” of the society, Chief Justice Dattu said that while great strides have been made in breaking down area old barriers but many sections of our society continue to be vulnerable to abuse and exploration in various forms.

“It is essential that these vulnerable sections be provided equal and effective access to Justice” and the same is the mandate of the Article 39A of the constitution, he said.

(IANS)

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CJI faces revolt from four senior most SC judges

The four judges -- Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar -- released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago

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Supreme court went into a frenzy as four senior judges revolt against CJI. Wikimedia Common
Supreme court went into a frenzy as four senior judges revolt against CJI. Wikimedia Common
  • The sudden revolt against Chief Justice of India (CJI) by the four senior-most judges of Supreme Court has sent the whole judicial system into an uproar.
  • The four judges accused the CJI of corruption and breaches in a surprise Press Conference.
  • Judge Loya’s death’s controversy, supposedly, sparked this reaction out of the other judges.

Divisions in the Supreme Court burst out in the open on Friday when four senior-most judges took an unprecedented step of addressing the media to accuse Chief Justice Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, with one of them pointing to the plea regarding the mysterious death of Special CBI judge B. H. Loya.

The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI's corruption. Pixabay
The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI’s corruption. Pixabay

At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, Justice J. Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was “not in order” and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even this morning “with a specific request” failed, forcing them to “communicate with the nation” directly.

The four judges — Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar — released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues”.

Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Judge Loya, Justice Gogoi said: “Yes.”

Judge Loya's death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay
Judge Loya’s death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay

Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.

Plea’s seeking probe came up for a hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday when the top court expressed concerns over it and said it was a “serious issue”. It asked the Maharashtra government to produce all the documents related to the case before January 15.

In a seven-page letter, the four judges said they were not mentioning details of the cases only to avoid embarrassing the institution because “such departures have already damaged the images of this institution to some extent”.

The clash among the judges in the highest court also comes in the wake of a controversial order in November in which Justice Misra declared that the Chief Justice “is the master of the roster” having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.

The CJI called himself 'master of roster' further enraging other judges. Pixabay
The CJI called himself ‘master of the roster’ further enraging other judges. Pixabay

The CJI had given the order a day after a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had passed an order that a five-judge bench of senior most judges in the apex court should be set up to consider an independent probe into a corruption case in which bribes were allegedly taken in the name of settling cases pending before Supreme Court judges.

Holding that the Chief Justice was only the first among equals, the four judges contended that there were well-settled and time-honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice in dealing with the strength of the bench required or the composition thereof.

“A necessary corollary to the above-mentioned principle is the members of any multi-numbered judicial body, including this court, would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition-wise and strength-wise with due regard to the roster fixed,” they wrote in the letter.

They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to “unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution” but would create “chaos”.

The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on the appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government.

The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com
The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com

The government, the letter said, had not responded to the communication and “in view of this silence it must be taken that the MoP has been accepted by the government on the basis of the order of this court”.

Justice Chelameswar told the media that they were “convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintains its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country… The hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges.

“Since all our efforts failed… Even this morning, on a particular issue, we went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately, we could not convince him that we were right.”

Justice Gogoi said they were “discharging the debt to the nation that has got us here”.

The government appeared to distance itself from the controversy, saying the judges should sort the issue themselves.

Minister of State for Law P. Chaudhary said: “Our judiciary is one of the known, recognised judiciaries in the world. It is an independent judiciary. At this stage, I think no agency is required to intervene or interfere. The Chief Justice and other members should sit together and resolve. There is no question of panic.”

the matter should be resolved among the judges themselves, says P. Chaudhary.

The Supreme Court split had an immediate political fallout, with CPI leader D. Raja saying after meeting Justice Chelameswar that Parliament will have to devise methods to sort out problems like this in the top judiciary.

Two judges, Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageshwar Rao, are understood to have called on Justice Chelameswar. IANS