The much awaited reforms in the judiciary will be initiated by taking it into confidence and not by adopting a path of confrontation with this important institution, says the new Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily.
“The UPA government is committed to judicial reforms, but it should not create an impression that these are being imposed from outside,” Moily told Hindustan Times.
“My thrust of reforms is to make justice affordable and accessible to the common man. This is precisely what our election manifesto also says,” the 69-year-old Minister said.
Referring to the Gramin Nyayalas (rural courts) Bill, passed by Parliament in December last year to allow the petty disputes of villagers to be settled at doorsteps as an achievement of the UPA government, Moily hinted he would push for many similar people's friendly steps.
A former Karnatana chief minister, who has authored many crucial reports, more than a dozen on the administrative reforms during the past five years, Moily said the judiciary “is a highly credible institution and will not oppose the reforms.”
Moily said his experience as the chief of the PM-appointed Administrative Reforms Commission has been that “the resistance to reforms in the key sectors is gradually withering. In case of judiciary, the evolution has to be from within the system and there seems to be a positive start.”
Asked about how he intended to tackle the enormous challenge of bringing down the number of three crore pending cases in various courts throughout the country, Moily said the government would first have to look within for the reason behind the massive pendency.
“The biggest litigant in the country is the government itself. I intend to go to the root cause of why our departments rush to the courts to clog them. We have to devise a method for alternative solutions,” the Minister said.
Asked about the resistance of higher judiciary to the introduction of transparency in its functioning, Moily replied: “The judiciary deals with sensitive matters and certain caution is desirable. There can't be an omnibus approach. The scope and the limit to which the Right to Information Act (RTI) can be implemented in the judiciary is for it to decide.”
Asked about the rising cases of corruption, particularly those involving many high court judges and questions being raised on the conduct of a couple of Supreme Court judges, Moily evaded a direct reply and said: “A holistic approach is required for judicial reforms, which will address all these important issues and the judiciary seems to be already serious on this."
The Minister said he felt the correct approach would be to utilise the potential of the judiciary for betterment of the society.