January , 2020
All India Judicial Service to expedite delivery of justice
12:00 pm

Dr. P K Agrawal

Delay in disposal of court cases is one of the major problems faced in India. The phrase ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is appropriately applicable to the Indian judicial system which may break down any day. Public unrest may explode against the so called four walled judiciary. People have developed a notion that the judiciary is made for the judges, lawyers and rich litigants. The rich litigants can tilt the balance of justice in their favour by hiring costly lawyers whose flowery arguments will have no match unless the judges or magistrates themselves exert. Secondly, lawyers have their well-organised associations or unions which can any day stop the functioning of courts. Thirdly, judges and their supervising judges come through an age old procedure based on delay, adjournments, long examination of witnesses and lengthy judgments. The real respect for judiciary can be found if judges go around the corridors of courts as common men. Thus infusion of new blood is required in the Indian judicial system through the All India Judicial Service which was created by incorporating it in article 312 by the 42nd Amendment Act of the Constitution of India in 1977. It was reiterated in judgment of the Supreme Court in the All India Judges Association case and in many other cases. It is like many other steps which have not been acted upon so far due to opposition by the judiciary itself supported by many state governments who do not want to part with their hegemony on the proposed national service.What is proposed?The All India Judicial Service (AIJS) like the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service will represent unity in diversity. It will create further faith in judiciary that the citizens of India can move freely and do their business or profession peacefully in any part of India as envisaged in the Constitution of India. The All India Judicial Service will have cream of the officers of the country and will be less prone to political influence and pressure from local lawyers’ lobby and staff. They will come from all sections of the society unlike the present judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court. The judges will have a quick experience of the district judicial system before they are elevated as High Court judges and as Supreme Court judges. They will have a new and innovative approach to long pending cases. At present, there is hardly any administration at the district judicial level as everyone does cases and as a result, clerks, peshkars, peons have free play of corrupt practices in all courts including revenue courts, tribunals, consumer forums and quasi-judicial bodies. Lastly, the AIJS judges and magistrates will have steel security and state governments cannot play with their service records because the UPSC and the Union government will be consulted before their dismissal or termination. This double control reaffirms India as a federal country with a powerful Union.How the doubts raised are being addressedEven after more than thirty years of the constitutional mandate and reiteration by the Apex Court and repeated resolutions in conferences of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices, AIJS could not be constituted because many High Courts and state governments (18 High Courts and 13 states) either raised objections or suggested changes in the proposal. To guard the independence of judiciary, it is essential to maintain the control of the higher judiciary in the recruitment and over the AIJS. As regards to recruitment, there will be an oversight committee headed by a Supreme Court judge, and will have representatives of the central government and of High Courts. This committee will finalise the syllabus, set the paper and fix the weightage of the test and interview. After acceptance of officers by High Courts and states, the candidates shall be thoroughly trained in the local language of the High Court or the state. There will also be reservation in judiciary for disadvantaged sections of society which is long awaited.There are more than 5000 vacancies in lower courts. AIJS will be one way to fill up these vacancies. It is expected that AIJS will certainly bring in a new work culture in the traditional judicial system.-         - Dr.P.K.Agrawal is a retired IAS officer who also served as Joint Secretary, Department of Justice, Government of India. At present, he is a managing partner in a New Delhi-based law firm, Vas Global. 

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