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Strengthen judiciary to clear backlog: President

June 27, 2009 19:15 IST
Huge backlog of cases in the courts is a major issue and the solution lies in changing laws and strengthening judicial institutions, President Pratibha Patil said in Thane on Saturday.

"One of the major issues confronting the judiciary is the huge backlog of cases... Cases have taken inordinately long time to come to conclusion and litigants have not been able to lead normal life unsure of the verdict in their case," she said.

The President was inaugurating Maharashtra Judicial Academy in Uttan, Thane. She said solution should be found for those waiting for justice since long and added, "This could include revising many of our legal codes and laws which are old and outdated as well as strengthening institutional aspects of judiciary."

Addressing the audience which included Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Swatanter Kumar and several High Court judges, she said, "Cost of access to justice has become high and expensive whether it is in terms of court fees or lawyers' fees. This has given rise to worrisome doubt about access to justice especially for the weaker sections of society."

"It should be our bounden duty to ensure that justice was accessible to all," Patil said, adding that options like mobile courts for remote areas, wide network of legal assistance for the poor and predictable schedule of hearings can be useful in tackling the issue

The president said that she was happy to know that the academy was also housing 'Indian Mediation Centre and Training Institute.'

"Mediation is not new to us. Villages traditionally relied on the Panchayat justice system. Modern day mediation system is similar to Panchayat system in the sense that it strives for a solution acceptable to parties," she said.

The academy is expected to fulfil vital responsibility of providing training to members of higher as well as lower judicial services with the aim to upgrade their skills and broaden their knowledge base, the President said.

It would be offering training for newly joined judges of lower courts (magistrates and civil judges). The academy will also offer refresher courses for senior judges.

The President said the training must include topics such as cyber laws, environmental laws and Intellectual property rights. Judges should be familiar with information technology, she added.

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