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News Analysis: Social Justice Bench At Supreme Court

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All India Radio, 05 December 2015

Chief justice of India has set up a special bench to exclusively deal with social justice for less previliged, disadvantaged sections of society, women and children.

Social justice is not an something unique concept. It is explicitly mentioned in our constitution and it is the duty of the Supreme court to ensure this as a guardian of the constitution.

The world social is used twice in the preamble of our constitution

Sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic and to secure justice: social, economic and political.

What are the cases that this bench is likely to take up?

going by the preliminary documents of the supreme court, it takes up cases mostly which affects large no of people involved, as these cases should not take back seat against personal interests litigation’s, business corporation cases. So accordingly it might deal with cases like mid-day meal programmes, PDS, hygiene water, night shelter, safety and security living.

There are dowry cases which are pending in over more than 2 decades, and 200 such cases are identified and out of which 65 is allotted to this bench.

Apart from this fresh cases are also likely to be taken up.

IS IT A FULL TIME BENCH?

NO.

It functions only weekly once for 2 hrs. (may be because it’s still in the experimental stage)

WORRYING STATE OF JUDICIARY:

  1. NO OF PENDING CASES
SUPREME COURT HIGH COURT  SUBORDINATE COURT
 65 THOUSAND 45 LAKHS 2 CRORE, 70 LAKHS

(Excluding thousands of cases lying in tribunals and consumer courts)

  1. VACANCIES
HIGH COURT SUBORDINATE COURT
260 19,000

WHAT ARE THE URGENT JUDICIAL REFORMS WHICH ARE NEEDED:

  1. With increase in the level of education and reforms like RTI where transparency has increased and as a consequence more PIL’s are being filed that too directly to the supreme court under article 32 of our constitution, there is a dire need to set up a bench exclusively to deal with PIL’s as most of the PIL’s also have a social concerns in them.
  2. The cases which can be dealt with high courts or trial courts should be discouraged to be directly filing in the supreme court.
  3. Judge to population ratio is 13:10 lakhs should be increased to at least 50:10 lakhs.
  4. Councilors to be used as out of court settlements must also be looked into as an option.

Social justice bench in supreme court is one step towards it. Many more such likely reforms should be taken up as supreme court is the last hope for any citizen seeking justice.