The Centre is working on a justice system that aims to reflect the values and ideals enshrined in the Constitution. Speaking in Bangalore on Sunday, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice and Communications & Information Technology, said, the Constitutional Amendment for the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill was passed in both houses of the Parliament. This, he added, was a process which was set in motion about two decades ago.
“We are now developing a data bank of the performance of young lawyers so that the best talent is considered for appointment as judges,” said Prasad when giving the convocation address at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU).
The Centre has also been trying to make the judicial system more efficient through the use of information, communication technology (ICT). Already, substantial efforts have been made to embrace the use of ICT methods in courts and subordinate levels. The Centre is working the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the Supreme Court eCommittee on a mission mode, he said, adding these measures would ensure easier access to court services and increase confidence in the judicial system.
He also said that there has been an in-principal approval for an increase in the strength of high courts by 25 per cent. For this, the high courts themselves have begun the process of sending in proposals regarding the same.
The state governments would be given financial support to ensure that the judicial infrastructure is bolstered and it remain robust and as per global standards.
With cases overwhelming the courts, the justice system has slowed down. “To make sure more and more cases do not clog the system, we must think of alternatives,” said Prasad. The use of Alternative Disputes Redressal (ADR) mechanisms, according to him, will be emphasised upon going forward, and parties will be encouraged to use other means to resolve disputes. “ADR,” he said, “has great potential to reduce the burden of courts and ensure disposal of cases without resorting to litigation. In several other countries, only a small fraction of disputes ultimately reach a court of law.”
Meanwhile, institutional changes in arbitration proceedings are also on the cards. He told the graduating students that in future India could become a hub for international arbitration and other ADR mechanisms and hence, skills in arbitrations would become important for lawyers in future.
The NIC, he said, has created a software for prisons with the goal to develop a database of prison inmates with a focus on undertrial prisoners to ensure they do not unfairly remain in jail.
Meanwhile, at the 22nd annual convocation of NLSIU, 162 graduates were given certificates.