NEW DELHI(PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said judges must have some in-built “dynamic mechanism” for self-introspection. He also urged the courts to remain cautious about “perception-driven” verdicts since perceptions, he said, are often driven by “five-star activists”.
Inaugurating a joint conference of chief ministers and high court chief justices here, Modi said, “The government is criticised severely for any of its wrongdoings but the judges are not criticised even for awarding death penalty verdict… If the people in government commit mistake, the judiciary is the place where our mistakes are corrected, if judges commit errors, the institutional credibility comes to en end…The need of the hour is in-built dynamic mechanism for self- introspection. If we do not develop the mechanism, the public will lose their faith in the institution which will result in a great loss to the country,”
“It is not wrong to be powerful but at the same time it is essential to be perfect…” he said, and without naming any high-profile case filed by any activist, he urged the judges to avoid “perception- driven” verdicts as they are led by ‘five-star activists’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the manner in which the tribunals are functioning as an alternative disputes redressal mechanism, and asked the judiciary to review whether the country needs such a forum.
Citing the example of the state of Gujarat in which a large number of cases were disposed of in past few years, Modi said more and more Lok Adalats should be held which are cost-effective and help in reducing the pendency of cases.
“Huge amount of government budget goes for the functioning of the Tribunals and the disposal is not satisfactory which is a matter of concern,” the PM said, adding that about 100 tribunals are functional and from each ministry and the judges should examine it.
Responding to the prime minister’s comment, Chief Justice of India H L Dattu said, “There is in-house mechanism in the Supreme Court and also in each high courts and it is being monitored by the chief justice of respective courts.”
Justice Dattu, who had held interaction with the chief justice for two days in the Supreme Court from April 3 despite a sitting judge’s open objection to the timing of the meeting as it coincided with the Good Friday holiday, said that the discussions were fruitful and a resolution was passed to fast track the cases pertaining to women, children, senior citizen.
The CJI said a deadline has been set to ensure that the trial of a case does not go beyond five years at the trial stage.
Throughout the conference, Justice Dattu preferred to remain quiet over his brother judge’s letter controversy except calling it “unfortunate” as the judge has made the issue public. He said being the head of the judges’ family, he would have sorted it out at his level.
Among other issues which were discussed are uniform procedure for the appointment of judges in lower judiciary, improvement in infrastructure in the courts, digitalisation of the courts and functioning of the morning and evening courts.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who attended the joint conference of chief justices and chief ministers, assured the judiciary that his government would render all support for effective functioning of the justice delivery system.
“My government is committed to whatever assistance the Bombay High Court needs for the effective justice system in the state,” Fadnavis told dna.
He said his government has recently sanctioned 900 posts for judges and other staff in lower judiciary, and as and when any proposal from the high court comes to the government, it will act on it on a priority basis.