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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
Judiciary@70

70 Years Of Indian Judiciary | Opinion: The Courts Must Reform So That They Can Preserve -- Seven Must-Dos

By calling district courts and magistracy the 'lower' judiciary, great disservice is done to their role in justice delivery, write Justice (Retd) Ruma Pal and Arghya Sengupta

70 Years Of Indian Judiciary | Opinion: The Courts Must Reform So That They Can Preserve -- Seven Must-Dos
Landmark | Photograph by Getty Images
70 Years Of Indian Judiciary | Opinion: The Courts Must Reform So That They Can Preserve -- Seven Must-Dos
outlookindia.com
2020-08-30T16:20:36+05:30

“Different parts of the Constitution will act and react on each other and the court will have to decide questions arising from such a situation...discharging its duties as perhaps no other court has so far been called upon to do.” With these words of the first Chief Justice of India, Harilal Kania, the nation’s judicial system as we know it today, with the Supreme Court, high courts and the subordinate judiciary, started functioning on January 28, 1950. As it turns 70, there is much to be proud of—the judiciary has been the nation’s moral conscience, speaking truth to political power, upholding the rights of citizens, mediating Centre-state conflicts, providing justice to the rich and poor alike, and on several momentous occasions, saving democracy itself. Despite its achievements, a gap between the ideal and reality has been becoming clear over the years: justice del­ivery is slow, appointment of judges is mired in controversy, disciplinary mechanisms scarcely work, hierarchy rather than merit often appears to be the grundnorm, women are severely under-represented, and constitutional matters often languish in the Supreme Court for years. As Justice Chelameswar said in his dissent in the NJAC judgment, the courts must reform, so that they can preserve. In this spirit, here are seven reforms for the Indian judiciary at seventy:

1. Reduce hierarchy

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