Every High Court To Have An Additional Solicitor General: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju
The Union Law & Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju has announced that every High Court in the country will have a dedicated Additional Solicitor General (ASG).
As per the Ministry's website, presently there are ASGs only for the Rajasthan, Punjab & Haryana, Bombay, Allahabad, Madras, Calcutta, Gujarat, Delhi, Patna and Jharkhand High Courts and an ASG for the Southern Zone. Presently there are nine ASGs for the Supreme Court.
All the High Courts presently have a Deputy Solicitor General (DSG- who was earlier called Assistant Solicitor General).
"We have recently approved Additional Solicitor General posts for all the High Courts", the Law Minister said yesterday, adding that he was surprised that some of the larger High Courts were having the ASGs and smaller High Courts have only DSGs. He said that some of the High Courts with lesser pendency rates were having ASGs.
"Every High Court is equal. So every High Court must have equal set-up. So the Cabinet has approved it. We will start the process of appointment very soon", Kiren Rijiju said while speaking at the '5th Conference of Central Government Counsel Of Southern States' in Bangalore on Saturday.
He said that the Ministry is developing a system for synchronizing what is happening in different Courts across the country. "We are creating some systems. You all will be updated very soon", he said. He added that this will revolutionize the way in which cases are dealt with.
He said that he must know which are the critical case coming in all High Courts and the Supreme Court and the status of those cases. "Whenever I tell my Law Secretary to brief me about the important cases to be taken up on that day, some of the information is not readily available and then I have to make personal efforts, call up our officers for update. Because, some of the cases are very critical, politically sensitive, commercially very crucial for the government. I know our Law Officers are doing a great job. It's a question of making the updates more robust and that helps everyone", he said.
He said that Law Officers must ensure that projects of national interest are not stalled. "We must ensure that we convince the judges to ensure that anything in the national interest is not stalled. This is where the standing counsel of the government of India play a very critical role", he said addressing the gathering of law officers.
He also said that under the aegis of the Ministry, the Bar Council of India has constituted the 'Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti' which is chaired by former CJI Justice Bobde. He said that in a recent meeting, it has been decided to list out words and phrases and legal terminologies which are most frequently used in various branches of law such as civil, criminal and constitutional law for developing a "common core vocabulary" for all Indian languages for the purpose translating legal materials into regional languages. He said that to avoid any conflict or contradiction, the Ministry has tried to involve jurists and legal luminaries from all languages in the process.
He said that the Ministry has identified and digitized a 65-thousand-word legal glossary which is available to the public. "Now the effort is to create an online platform for crowdsourcing of legal terminology for Indian languages. We want to involve common people also", he said.
The Minister said that demand for regional benches of the Supreme Court and the High Courts will diminish in the near future because every district headquarters will function as a virtual High Court Bench. He said that in the days to come, we must ensure that every place in India has access to justice.
The Minister spoke about the 7000 crore rupees allocated for the e-courts project in the budget. He said that it was done with the objective to make Indian Judiciary paperless in the near future. He said that he listens to some live hearings and said that the recently concluded hearings of cases before the Constitution Bench of the Apex Court about the Maharashtra political crisis and the appointment of Election Commissioners were quite interesting. He also said that improvements are required in the live streaming of proceedings in some High Courts.
He said that till 2014 there were 15,818 Court halls in the country. "In the last eight years alone it has increased to 21,171 Court halls," he said. He said that the number of residential units for judges has increased from 10,211 residential units in 2014 to 18,734 in eight years. "The momentum has picked up since 2014", he said.
The event was also attended by Justice B.V. Nagarathna, Justice M.M. Sundresh and Justice Aravind Kumar of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Venkata Jyothirmai Pratapa of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Justice Maturi Girija Priyadarsini and Justice K. Lakshman of the Telangana High Court, Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice N. Nagaresh of the Kerala High Court, Justice N. Nagaprasanna and Justice Alok Aradhe of the Karnataka High Court and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were among those who attended the event.
Additional Solicitor Generals R. Sankaranarayan and AR. L. Sundaresan were the Chief Convenors of the event while H. Shanthi Bhushan, the DSGI, Bengaluru was the Convenor of the event.
Speaking at the event, Justice M.M. Sundresh said that according to him, there should be vertical reservation for women and also that the colonial mindset favouring the English language should change.
Justice B.V. Nagarathna remarked during her address that the government's inaction or delay in the appointment of judges could have severe effects on democracy in general and the judiciary in particular