Union Law Minister Mr. Sadananda Gowda Today said that Government has increased the sanctioned strength of judges in HCs by 25%, in consultation with Chief Justice of India. The total strength of HC judges has been increased from 906 as on 1.4.2015 to 1056 as on 1.3.2016.
He also stated that the process of supplementing the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment to higher Judiciary is likely to take some time because of the need for consultation with the States.
Today while interacting with media Mr. Gowda stated as follows;“In view of large number of vacancies and keeping in view the fact that the process of supplementing the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment to Higher judiciary is likely to take some time because of the need for consultation with the States, the matter was taken up with the Supreme Court and the process of appointment of Judges in Higher Judiciary has been resumed”
According to ET Report he said that MoP is in the final stage and it will be sent soon. He also said that the Government has decided against bringing Judicial appointments in the Higher Judiciary under the purview of Right to Information Act.
Here is the full Text of the Statement published in PIB about Law Minister’s interaction with Media
Union Law & Justice Minister Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda today interacted with media regarding the budgetary provisions made in the Union budget 2016-17 as well as to highlight the key initiatives taken by his ministry. He said the total Budget of Ministry of Law and Justice has increased consistently, ever since NDA Government came to power.
The allocation for Plan Expenditure has increased from Rs. 806.65 crores (RE 2015-16) to Rs. 900 crores (BE 2016-17) showing an increase of 11.5%. Substantial funds have been allotted this year under the head “Election related expenses” for purchase of new EVMs, keeping in view the General Elections 2019 and other assembly elections and for reimbursement to the States for election related expenses. Expenditure under Election Head increased from Rs. 2142.40 crores (RE 2015-16) to Rs.3649.29 crores (BE 2016-17) showing an increase of 70%.
Department of Justice has been implementing a Centrally Sponsored scheme for Development of Infrastructure facilities for judiciary. On account of concerted efforts by all stakeholders, the availability of judicial infrastructure for subordinate courts has increased considerably in the recent past. Matching no. of courts halls are available for a working strength of about 16000 judicial officers in the Country. The allocation to the State and UT Plan for development of infrastructure facilities for judiciary has been increased from Rs.562.99 crores (RE 2015-16) to Rs.625 crores (BE 2015-16). Government had undertaken e-Courts Mission Mode Project for universal computerisation of district and subordinate courts with an objective of providing designated services to litigants, lawyers and the judiciary. Phase –I of the project is complete now. Government of India in July, 2015 had approved the eCourts Phase-II project with a total cost of Rs. 1670 cr over a period of 4 years. The allocation of e-courts Phase-II project has been increased from Rs.227.13 crores in BE 2015-16 to Rs. 286 crores in BE 2016-17, including Rs.30 crores for North-East.
In BE 2016-17, Special funds of Rs.10 crores have also been allotted for construction of additional infrastructure in National Judicial Academy.
To enable Election Commission to carryout limited de-limitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in West Bengal to give effect to Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016 was passed by both Houses of Parliament. It has now been enacted as Act No. 10 of 2016 and has come into effect on 04.03.2016. This shall enable the new citizens of India to participate in the electoral process in the coming Assembly election of West Bengal in April/May 2016.
As a part of Government’s commitment to fulfil its election promise in repealing of obsolete and redundant laws, two Bills have already enacted into Acts repealing 125 obsolete and redundant Acts. Further, Government is taking up the two other pending Bills for consideration by Rajya Sabha in the Budget Session, which have already been passed by Lok Sabha. These Bills seek to repeal about 1053 obsolete Acts. Work on identifying other obsolete laws is under way. As a step towards making Arbitration as preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes by making it more user-friendly, cost effective leading to expeditious disposal of cases, Government has amended the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. These amendments will facilitate India to become a hub of International Commercial Arbitration.
The National Litigation Policy is in being finalized with an objective to reduce litigation involving Government and to make Government as a responsible and efficient litigant. Further, the fee structure of the Government Counsels and panel advocates have been revised recently to attract better talent. Also, 48 vacancies pertaining to Income Tax Appellate Tribunal have been cleared for appointment which shall help in reducing pendency of appeal on Direct Taxes side.
Pendency in Supreme Court has declined from 66692 cases at the end of the year 2012 to 59468 cases as on 19.2.2016. The pendency in High Courts has declined from 44.34 lakh cases at the end of 2012 to 38.49 lakh cases as on 30.9.2015. Pendency in District and Sub-ordinate court cases has declined from 2.68 crore at the end of year 2012 to 2.64 crore at the end of 2014.
In furtherance to the objectives enshrined in Article 39A of the Constitution to provide free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society and ensure justice to all, and under the ambit of Legal Services Authorities Act, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) at the national level has been established to monitor and evaluate implementation of legal aid programmes and to lay down policies and principles for legal aid. Central Government provides annual grant-in-aid to NALSA which is further distributed to SLSAs also. In 2016-17, Rs. 140 cr have been allocated for the purpose against Rs. 120 cr in RE 2015-16. In addition, State and District legal Services Authorities undertake preventive and strategic legal aid programmes and conduct Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes. In 2015 alone, 1.33 crore cases have settled through Permanent Lok Adalats.
In view of large number of vacancies and keeping in view the fact that the process of supplementing the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment to Higher judiciary is likely to take some time because of the need for consultation with the States, the matter was taken up with the Supreme Court and the process of appointment of Judges in Higher Judiciary has been resumed.
Government has also increased the sanctioned strength of judges in HCs by 25%, in consultation with Chief Justice of India. The total strength of HC judges has been increased from 906 as on 1.4.2015 to 1056 as on 1.3.2016. The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016 has recently been passed by Parliament".
Yesterday Indian Express has reported that Government of India has finalized the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on Appointment of Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts. LiveLaw also carried a story based on the Indian Express Report.