Case Study of Judicial Appointments in India

Topics: Judge, Bench, Constitution of India Pages: 12 (4656 words) Published: December 6, 2008
Judicial Appointments For Fast Track Courts

2002 Under Article 139 - A of the Constitution of India 06.05.2002 Brij Mohan Lal Vs. Union of India and Other s With T.C. (C) No. 23 / 2001. SLP (C) No. 7870.10645 of 2001 and T.P. (C) No. 407 - 410 of 2001

Case Summary
A case relating to the establishment and functioning of Fast Track Courts, which came into existence for the speedy disposal of long pending Sessions cases. The Eleventh Finance Commission allocated Rs.502.90 crores under the Constitution of India, for the purpose of setting up of 1734 Courts in various States of the country to deal with longstanding cases. The conflict arose on the matter of appointment of judges to these Fast Track Courts. While allocation of funds made by the Finance Commission stipulated time bound utilization within a period of five years, the onus of establishing and operationalizing this process fell upon the various State Governments. The directives of the Finance Commission suggested that the States could consider re-employment of retired judges for limited period, for the disposal of pending cases. The Fast track Courts were to be ad hoc ie they would not be a permanent addition to the number of Courts within a particular State. The petitioner[] challenged the Scheme known as the Fast Track Courts Scheme on the ground that there was no constitutional sanction for employment of retired judges and effective guidelines were not in operation. Also brought to fore was the fact that infrastructural facilities were not available to make the Fast Track Scheme a reality, with several such deficiencies being pointed out. The appellant made a plea that instead of retired officers, eligible members of the Bar should be considered for appointment. While the Union of India stated that there was no mandatory requirement for appointment of retired Sessions/Additional Sessions Judges or other officers for the newly created posts , with it allowing for possible ad hoc promotion of judicial officers also being a plausible contemplation. Consequential vacancies created on account of ad hoc promotions could be filled up by ‘special drives’ so that there is no shortfall in the personnel of the judiciary available to the lower Courts ,according to the orders. While the tribulations created by long pendency of cases in different Courts all over the country is a universally accepted problem, with any steps to solve the same being welcome. In the spirit of this urgency the very nature of this scheme was given birth. What was however not anticipated and in turn objected to by said petitioner was the appointment of judges otherwise not deemed likely to be given extensions to their tenure due to their adverse track records. In the course of the case , the argument quoted was by Hon'ble Kirpal, J in All India Judges Association & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. (JT 2002 (3) SC 503) in the following words was used as the founding argument for the basis of the establishment and imperative need for Fast track courts : To quote : "An independent and efficient judicial system is one of the basic structures of our Constitution. If sufficient number of judges are not appointed, justice would not be available to the people, thereby undermining the basic structure. It is well known that justice delayed is justice denied. Time and again the inadequacy in the number of judges has adversely been commented upon. Not only have the Law Commission and the standing committee of Parliament made observations in this regard, but even the head of the judiciary, namely, the Chief Justice of India has had more occasions than once to make observations in regard thereto. Under the circumstances, we feel it is our constitutional obligation to ensure that the backlog of the cases is decreased and efforts are made to increase the disposal of cases. Apart from the steps which may be necessary for increasing the efficiency of the judicial officers, we are of the opinion...
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