Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary
Supreme Court: Not a court of everyday appeals
India’s Supreme Court
Acts as a final court of appeal- decisions are determinative; its pronouncements constitute the law of the land
Acts as the ultimate arbiter on disputes concerning any interpretation of the Constitution
Enormity of its burden:
Core task: deliberating on, and settling, questions of pure constitutional significance
Reality: ruling on run-of-the-mill civil and criminal appeals.
Core task: minimum of five judges sit for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of constitutional law (Article 145(3) of the Constitution)
Reality: the number of cases decided by constitution benches (benches comprising five or more judges), has steadily declined right from the Supreme Court’s inception. Between 2005 and 2009, benches comprising five judges or more decided only a worryingly paltry 0.12 per cent of the court’s total decisions (this manner of functioning is far from what the Constitution’s framers envisaged of the Supreme Court)
Core task: Not to be transformed into a forum to argue over ordinary disputes between litigants that had no larger public bearing (designed for the lower judiciary and the various high courts to take it up)
Reality: That which was meant to be used only in exceptional cases, where a particular interpretation of a law required definite resolution, is being increasingly used by the judges points out towards a deliberate decisions that is ultimately leading towards the downfall
Issues of accessing justice (Lower Judiciary):
There is only one judge for every 73,000 people in India
At the present rate of functioning- civil cases will never get fully disposed of, and it will likely take more than 30 years to clear all the criminal cases presently on the file of India’s lower courts.
Sol: systematic infrastructure and trained personnel (judges) are the need of the hour
Easing the Court’s burden
Need for the strengthening of the lower judiciary; be viewed as the regular — and, in most cases, final — appellate court, allowing the Supreme Court to be more discerning in its use of discretion, thus substantially reducing its burden of acting as a corrector of simple errors
Designating at least two constitution benches to hear cases, Monday through Friday, thereby solving problems concerning the inability of the Supreme Court to devote itself to its most important duty
Nobody likes ‘backlogs’:
‘Delay’ in the context of justice denotes the time consumed in the disposal of case, in excess of the time within which a case can be reasonably expected to be decided by the Court
Creation of Additional Judicial Manpower Planning Authority to clear backlogs and initiate swift disposal of new cases, eliminate delays and reduce cost.
Target for the disposal level at the national level should be raised from 60% of the total case-load (at present) to 95% of the total case-load in five years
Ensuring that not more than 5% of the cases pending before them should be more than 5 years old (5×5 rule) within the next three years
Constructive use of the Subordinate Courts
Issue: Tendency to fix many more cases than the Court can possibly hear on a day and then spending considerable time every day in calling certain cases with a view to adjourn them to a future date
Sol: An attempt should be made in consultation with Advocates to estimate the time, a particular case will take to hear, leading to reduction in the number of adjournments
Establishment of a National Court of Appeal (NCA)-
Would act as an intermediate forum between the Supreme Court and the various high courts of India
SC to Union: Ordered notice to the Union of India and proposed to refer questions of law concerning the establishment of such a court to a constitution bench of five judges
NCA: To be headquartered in New Delhi, and would have different regional benches, for relieving the Supreme Court of the weight of hearing regular civil and criminal appeals, allowing the court to concentrate on determining only fundamental questions of constitutional importance
NCA’s regional benches- would allow greater access to litigants from remote parts of the country, for whom the distance to New Delhi acts as a grave barrier to justice.
To restore the Supreme Court’s grandeur, the focus ought to be not on altering the core structure of the judiciary, but in aiming to make changes that are more pragmatic, that place an emphasis on the strengthening of the base of India’s judicial edifice.
Need to focus and revamp the feeble infrastructure that we have installed to support our justice delivery system by establishing a more robust subordinate judiciary, that would not only negate any requirement on the part of most litigants to approach the Supreme Court, but it would also free the court of its shackles, allowing it to possibly regain its constitutionally ordained sense of majesty.
Connecting the Dots:
“The justice that we are trying to secure should be “just and ready” as opposed to “rough and ready”. Discuss
There is a need to make a scientific and rational analysis of the factors behind accumulation of arrears and devise specific plan to at least bring them within acceptable limit, within a reasonable timeframe-Discuss.
General studies 2:
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Discover, invent in India
India, has a long tradition of excellent science, great scientists and scientific institutions, and rich cultural history that respects learning and excellence which helps in making India a scientific super power.
What does India reply on to become a scientific super power:
India possesses an immense pool of talented young minds.
Many have been attracted abroad, where they have made enormous contributions to science and technology.
This overseas community has strong ties to the country of its origin and is an important national resource that could greatly assist in the development of India.
Given appropriate opportunities, many would return.
Indian economy is booming, now reaching levels of growth second to none but China.
Realising the distant dream of “Make in India”:
The present Prime Minister challenged his nation to “Make in India”.
But in order to “Make in India” and compete with better or cheaper goods from abroad, one must first “Invent in India”; and in order to “Invent in India” one cannot just rely on the underlying science done elsewhere, one must “Discover in India”.
So the strategy is: Discover, invent, and make in India.
Need for India to be a scientific super power:
A country that aspires to become an economic superpower must first become a science and technology superpower.
China has learnt this lesson well and is on its way to becoming a world leader, both in technology and in basic science.
India needs to promote investments in science and technology:
Realising the above stated aspiration requires investment.
Despite repeated promises, the percentage of India’s GDP devoted to research and development has remained for 15 years at a paltry 0.9 per cent — minuscule in comparison with developed countries.
The US figure is 2.7 per cent, South Korea spends 4.4 per cent.
In the last 15 years, Chinese investment in technology, higher education and the basic sciences has doubled.
China now spends 2.1 per cent, and this percentage is rapidly increasing.
In the US, companies spend much on research and development of their products, but have realised that they cannot make truly new products without long-term investments in basic science that are best supported by the government.
Problems hindering Indian science:
Indian science is burdened with an inflexible, irrational and outdated bureaucracy.
India imposes irrational bureaucratic regulations, such as severe restrictions on travel for young Indian scientists and for foreign collaborators, as well as forced retirement at a relatively early age for excellent, and sorely needed, scientific leaders.
The system is highly politicised and without it being radically reformed and modified, the scientific picture in India will not change much.
What has the government done to promote innovation ?
President of India declared decade 2010-20 has the “decade of innovation”. The main aim of this declaration is to develop an innovation eco-system in the country to stimulate innovations and to produce solutions for the societal needs in terms of healthcare, energy, urban infrastructure, water and transportation.
Science technology and innovation(STI) policy 2013 :
Key elements of STI policy are :
Promoting the spread of scientific temper among all sections of society.
Establishing world class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontiers of science.
Positioning India among top 5 global scientific powers by 2020.
Seeding S&T based high risk innovation systems.
NITI ayog initiatives :
Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) : AIM will be an Innovation Promotion Platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers drawing upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D in India. The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and grand challenges for India.
Self Employment & Talent Utilization(SETU) : SETU will be a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas.
Reforming governmental institutions is not simple, and allocating scarce resources for long-term payoffs is difficult.
But both are necessary if India is to develop the science and technology necessary for its economic development and to take its rightful place among the scientific leaders of the world.
Connecting the dots:
Critically analyse the measures taken by the government to promote an ecosystem of innovation in India.
Innovation is a means of creating sustainable and cost effective solutions for inclusive growth in developing economies. Critically examine the relevance of above statement wrt Indian context.
India cannot be an economic super power until it becomes a scientific super power. Critically examine the above statement wrt growth of science and technology sector in India.