Judicial services, litigation policy, priority appointment of judges for the new Minister of Justice

Formulating judicial services and a national litigation policy across India, bridging differences over the appointment of judges with the upper magistracy, filling vacancies in the upper magistracy and repealing archaic laws are key areas that require redress from the Ministry of Justice, which has a new minister in Kiren Rijiju.

“It is a huge responsibility for me to function as Minister of Law and Justice. Meeting the expectations of the public will be my priority and I will always try to keep transparency, ”said Rijiju, after taking office on Thursday. “Although I have a law degree, I don’t have a lot of legal experience because I have never practiced the profession. But everything can be managed with the right advice, a good understanding of the subject and the application of a right mind, ”he said.

“The Prime Minister’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat also requires a solid legal system in the country”, he declared and assured that the functioning of his ministry will be transparent.

AND examines the areas of intervention of the Minister of Justice.

All India Judicial Review

The Indian Judicial Service government’s proposal to centrally recruit civil service judges has received mixed response from various states and opposition from some within the judiciary, but the decision is pending.

The exam will be on the civil service test lines. As ET reported, some higher courts opposed the project while others called for fine-tuning the proposal. Some high courts have expressed concern that the mechanism will eventually usurp the powers of state governments / high courts.

Those named above said that several rounds of correspondence and interactions have taken place between the judiciary and the Center to allay apprehensions.

National litigation policy

As the government is the largest litigant, the national litigation policy launched in 2010 aimed to reduce unnecessary appeals against every order from a lower court. Reducing intergovernmental disputes has been a priority for the Modi government. However, this requires synergy, proper legal advice from the ministry and coordination between ministries. The policy should identify underlying bottlenecks in the legal system and address them consistently across all ministries.

Vacancies in the senior magistracy

There were 449 vacant high court judges’ posts as of July 1. Filling vacant positions will reduce the wait. Only 66 new judges were appointed in 15 high courts last year, while 81 appointments were made in 2019 and 108 in 2018. According to Rijiju’s predecessor to Parliament a few months ago, more than 4 000 judges’ posts are also vacant in the courts of first instance.

Government-judicial cooperation

Even six years after the Supreme Court asked the Center to review the process for selecting superior judges, the Center and the Supreme Court have yet to find common ground. The Ministry of Justice has a central role to play in settling disputes with the judiciary.

With the drafting rules of the SC model for live broadcasting and recording of debates, the government will have to play the role of facilitator.

Mark M. Gagnon