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Raise retirement ages of Indian judges: Int'l legal expert

June 30, 2013 13:48 IST

Raising the retirement ages of Indian judges and compulsory appointment of court clerks will help expeditious disposal of cases and restore people's faith in the judiciary, an international legal expert has said. "Though people have faith in our judiciary because it is cheap, they are concerned about the delay in the disposal of cases," Dr Adish C Aggarwala, International Council of Jurists President and Chairman of All India Bar Association, told PTI.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar recently informed Parliament that over three crore cases are pending in various courts. "The best solution is to increase the age of retirement of judges from 62 to 65 at the high court and 65 to 68 at the Supreme Court. We have recommended that at the lower judiciary the retirement should go up to 62," Aggarwala said, adding that whoever is not fit medically should retire voluntarily.

Aggarwala, who was here to organise the International Conference of Jurists 2013, said: "Let there be increase in the number of judges in Supreme Court and high courts. Also increase the age of retirement with no right to practice or appointment after retirement except under the Commissions' of Enquiry Act. Then we will have proper justice delivery system." He said, "there should be compulsory system of Court Clerkship.

Supreme Court judges are getting these facilities through court clerks. Lawyers should be given proper training as court clerks for minimum period of one year, with stipend. There should be 10 court clerks for one magistrate.

"We have 16,000 judges at the lower judiciary and with the help of court clerks cases can be disposed of expeditiously. Court clerks provide basic facts of each case in a nutshell to the judges which help the judges to dispose of the cases expeditiously. "At present there are about 40 vacancies at the lower judiciary and they should be filled up without delay.

Practising local lawyers should be appointed as judges as they are more concerned about their own reputation." He said on an average 40,000 to 50,000 fresh lawyers join the field every year. They come with great hope but half of them take up other jobs as they do not get enough cases. Aggarwala is in favour of India adopting the "British judicial system" where adjournments are not given on flimsy grounds and thereby help speedy disposal of cases. "The Indian court working system has improved a great deal in recent years with improvement in salary and working condition of judges. But they could be facilitated for speedy disposal of cases with more judges, appointment of court clerks and limiting the number of adjournments to two. The court management could be improved by having shifts in courts. Evidence should be recorded in continuity," he said.

H S Rao
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