The monsoons session of Parliament, which started last week, is special in that it will be the first full session of Parliament since COVID struck the country last year. On the first day of the monsoons session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his hope for a fruitful session of Parliament.
Many important issues were raised in Parliament last week, and in this article we have tried to reconstruct the responses submitted by the Ministry of Union Law to the Loksabha on the status of free justice, representation of women in the Indian judicial system, women reservation law, Lakshwadeep, etc.
Job Postings (High Courts and Supreme Court) status
On Wednesday Lok Sabha members Benny Behanan and Haji Fazlur Rehman asked Justice Minister Kiren Rijju about the current state of the judiciary across the country.
Information was also obtained on the representation of women and minority communities in the judiciary. The Minister was also asked whether a recruitment process had been carried out to replenish the vaccines in question.
Minister Rijju’s response in this regard reflects the miserable state of vacancies in the country’s judiciary. The data presented also showed the low representation of women in the Indian judiciary, which has always been a cause for concern.
In all 25 high courts across the country, a total of 454 high court judge posts are vacant, against the sanctioned strength of 1,098 judges. The Apex Court alone has 8 vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 34 judges.
In addition, there has been no appeal to the Supreme Court since 2020. With the retirement of Judges Rohinton Fali Nariman and Judges Naveen Sinha next month, two more vacancies are expected.
Currently the Supreme Court has only one judge, Judge Indira Banerjee, out of the existing 27 judges. The high courts of Manipur, Meghalaya, Patna, Tripura and Uttarakhand have no women’s representation, while the high courts of Gauhati, Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Ladakh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Rajasthan and Sikkim have only one judge each.
For example, out of 567 judges working in high courts across the country, there are only 77 female judges.
No judicial appointments have been made in the high courts of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gauhati, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Patna, Sikkim and Uttarakhand since 2020.
In April 2021, the Women Lawyers Association of the Supreme Court (SCWLA) filed a motion with the Supreme Court for instructions to consider deserving female lawyers serving in the Supreme Court and the High Courts for appointment as judges in the High Courts to pull. The dispute resolution motion was filed in the case of M / s PLR Projects Pvt Ltd v Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, in which the Supreme Court was examining the vacancy in the High Court.
The statistics mentioned in the motion have shown how pitifully the representation of women in the higher judiciary is. To date, only 8 female judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court. There has never been a wife of the Chief Justice of India. Out of 25 high courts in the country, only 1 high court has a woman as chief justice – Chief Justice Hima Kohli of the Telangana High Court. Only 73 of 661 high court judges are women, or about 11.04 percent of the judges are women.
A Supreme Court Bench, which included former Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, noted earlier this year that high courts across the country were in a “state of crisis” due to this increased vacancy rate. Accordingly, the court ordered the Center to announce appointments within 3 to 4 weeks of the College reviewing its recommendations.
With regard to the representation of minority communities in the judiciary, the minister announced that the central government does not maintain class / category-related data. This is because the appointment of judges from the Supreme Court and the Supreme Courts is done under Articles 124, 217 and 224 of the Constitution of India, which do not make such reservations.
“However, the government has asked the chief justices of the high courts to consider suitable candidates from the civil cast, civil tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women in submitting proposals for the appointment of judges to the social Diversity in the appointment of high court judges, “added the minister.
Job posting (subordinate courts) status
In response to MP Benny Behnan’s question regarding the vacancy and lack of judges in the lower judiciary, the Justice Department stated as follows:
“The Justice Department writes from time to time to the Chancellors-General of all high courts to expedite the filling of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary on behalf of the Malik Mazhar case.”
It was also added that, under Article 225 of the Constitution, administrative control over the members of the district and the subordinate judiciary in the States rests with the relevant Supreme Courts.
“In certain states the recruitment of judicial officers is carried out by the high courts concerned, while in some states the recruitment process is carried out by the high courts in consultation with the state public service commissions … The Union government has no role under the Constitution the selection and appointment of judicial officers in the district / subordinate judiciary, ”was submitted.
On July 22, 2021, the vacant position of judicial officers (all Indian) is 5132.
Total sanctioned strength – 24368
Total labor force – 19326
– Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) July 28, 2021
The Union Law Ministry stated in one of its response that there is no proposal from the Bar Council of India to withdraw the All-India Bar Examination (AIBE), the purpose of which is to set a minimum standard for India’s exercise of law and access qualification to exercise the law of attorneys in India with basic legal knowledge and analytical skills.
This statement came in response to a question from Kerala Rep. Hibi Eden.
While the ministry said this exam is designed to test a lawyer’s ability to apply various substantive and procedural laws using books and bare files, the Bar Council of India had recently ruled that the All India Bar Examination-XVI (AIBE-XVI) no books, notes or study materials are allowed in the examination room.
However, candidates would be allowed to wear bare acts without notes.
Draft law on women’s representation
When asked by DMK MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi whether the government would propose introducing the Women’s Representation Act to reserve 33 percent women in parliament and legislative bodies, the Justice Ministry said:
“Gender equality is an important government obligation. The issue in question must be carefully examined, based on the consensus of all political parties, before a law amending the Constitution is submitted to Parliament. “
It’s important to note that this answer is literally the same as the government’s answer two years ago in 2019 when it was asked this exact question.
A related bill was first tabled in parliament in 1996, then again in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2008. The latest version of the bill was passed in 2010 in Rajya Sabha. Do not vote on it, the bill is obsolete.
“The government promotes the alternative dispute settlement system as a complement to the traditional court system”
The government informed the Loksabha that it is promoting the alternative dispute settlement system because it is time-bound, simpler, more convenient and less expensive compared to the traditional court system.
The government also clarified that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms do not require that persons without legal knowledge and training cannot be appointed chairman.
“These are informal procedures and the chairperson is appointed on the basis of party autonomy,” the court added.
The government responded to various questions put by Revolutionary Socialist Party MP NK Premachandran.
No suggestion received from Lakshadweep administrator. Transfer of jurisdiction from Kerala HC to Karnataka HC
The central government also made it clear to parliament that it had not received a proposal from the Lakshadweep government to transfer its jurisdiction from the Kerala Supreme Court to the Karnataka Supreme Court.
This was announced by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju when he answered certain questions from parliament members in the Lok Sabha, namely Anto Antony, Rajmohan Unnithan and Hibi Eden.
Pending cases in various Uttar Pradesh courts:
Allahabad High Court – 5.68.987 (civil) and 4.51.406 (criminal)
Lower courts – 18.41.155 (civil) and 73.94.155 (criminal)
Fast Track Courts – 5,43,081
Cases pending in various courts of #UttarPradesh: Justice Department response today in Loksabha
👉 Lower courts – 18.41.155 (civil) and 73.94.155 (criminal)
The ministry also informed the Loksabha that the district courts tried a total of 74.15,989 cases using the digital system between March 2020 and June 2021. However, the case elimination status through digital and physical hearing is not maintained separately. During the same period, a total of 97,21,491 cases were resolved through digital and physical hearing in all states / UTs.