Steps worth taking- Sound advice from Parliament on judicial reform

Source: The post is based on the article “Steps worth taking- Sound advice from Parliament on judicial reform” published in Business standard on 10th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Separation of powers between various organs

News: The author discusses a recent parliamentary report suggesting reforms in India’s judiciary. It emphasizes raising judges’ retirement age, reassessing post-retirement jobs, reducing court holidays, creating regional Supreme Court Benches, and improving diversity in the higher judiciary.

What are the reforms suggested by parliamentary report in India’s judiciary?

Suggested Reforms in India’s Judiciary:

  1. Retirement Age: Raise the retirement age for judges. This addresses concerns about judges seeking post-retirement jobs funded by the public.
  2. Post-retirement Jobs: Reassess post-retirement public appointments for judges. The current system gives the executive potential influence over judges’ futures.
  3. Court Holidays: Reduce the long holidays of superior judiciary benches. Current long breaks limit litigants’ access to the higher courts.
  4. Regional Supreme Court Benches: Establish Supreme Court Benches outside New Delhi. This addresses the high travel costs and language barriers for many Indians. For example, Travel to New Delhi is costly and arguing in non-local languages can be challenging for some Indians.
  5. Diversity in Judiciary: Address the declining representation of marginalized communities in the higher judiciary. The court needs diversity to maintain public legitimacy.

What are the significance of these recommendations?

Enhanced Judicial Impartiality: Raising the retirement age can reduce judges’ dependence on post-retirement jobs. Less chance of executive influence on a judge’s decisions.

Increased Public Trust: By reassessing post-retirement jobs, public faith in unbiased judgments grows.

Improved Court Efficiency: Reducing court holidays ensures faster case resolution. Litigants will have better access to the courts.

Greater Access to Justice: Regional Supreme Court benches eliminates travel barriers. Litigants can argue in local languages, reducing linguistic challenges.

Promotion of Practical Federalism: Regional benches help in decentralizing the judicial system. More areas get representation and better judicial access, reflecting federal principles.

Representation and Legitimacy: More diverse judges ensure marginalized communities are represented. A diverse court enhances its legitimacy and reduces executive control in the appointment process.

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