NEW DELHI, April 5 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday asked for a special package from the Centre for the North Eastern States, including Assam, for overall development of the justice delivery system in the region.
The Chief Minister was speaking at the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts at Vigyan Bhavan, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Chief Minister, who mostly confined his comments to the maladies concerning the justice delivery system, arrived in the capital last evening. He is on a political mission too, and is likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Dr CP Joshi.
Official sources said that Gogoi pointed out that the first phase of construction of the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam, at a cost of Rs 100 crore, is on the verge of completion.
About the initiatives taken by the Assam Government to strengthen judicial infrastructure and manpower, he said that while 36 new courts have been sanctioned and 20 ad-hoc fast track courts have been converted into regular ones, it has also ordered setting up of 54 new fast-track courts for trial of offences against women, and doubling of the number of courts at subordinate levels.
Gogoi said the new infrastructure in place has resulted in the steady decline in the pendency of cases over the years. �Pendency of cases is steadily declining, even though there is increase in the institution of fresh cases. However, there is no scope of complacency, as we have a long road ahead to deliver justice to the litigants by disposing of cases in a time-bound manner,� he claimed.
The Chief Minister, meanwhile, stressing the need to infuse managerial skills in the judicial system as endorsed by the 13th Finance Commission, said that the Central Government must provide adequate funds for this purpose instead of leaving it entirely to the State Governments.
�Our Constitution has ensured every citizen to have justice � social, economic and political. Herein lies the importance of an efficient justice delivery system. Unless we ensure proper justice delivery to our citizens, we will not be able to harvest the fruits of democracy,� said Gogoi.
The Chief Minister underscored the need to create an atmosphere where the Judiciary and the Executive work in tandem �to ensure justice delivery to our citizens and fulfil the basic aim of our Constitution, that is secure justice to all.�
Gogoi stressed the need to ensure that the marginalised sections of society gets access to justice. �Any attempt to improve the justice delivery system without giving emphasis to accessibility by the marginalised sections of the society is itself an injustice. �We must ensure that the poorest of the poor can access the door of justice even at the highest level,� he added.
�Our synergy must be directed towards innovation of new ways that will enable clearing of backlog of pending cases and ensure speedy justice to our citizens,� he said referring to the delay in delivery of justice.
Gogoi underscored the need to bring in innovative legislations, both operational as well as structural, in the judiciary to cater to the needs and aspirations of society in tune with changing surroundings. In this context, he welcomed the recent initiative to bring in the Commercial Divisions and Commercial Appellate Divisions in the High Courts and Commercial Courts Bill, 2015.
Later, talking to newsmen, the Chief Minister said he is planning to induct four more ministers into his Cabinet within this month. He has sought appointment with the Congress president in this connection. �The candidates have not been finalised and the party chief will give the final approval,� he said adding that he is going to meet Dr Joshi as well.
On the issue involving party MLA Rumi Nath, he said that an inquiry has been ordered and law will take its own course.
When asked about Speaker Pranab Gogoi�s initiative, the Chief Minister chose not to react and skirted the issue.