Editorial: Supreme Court needs reform

Editorial: Supreme Court needs reform

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 08:31 PM IST
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Supreme Court Of India | PTI

On the Diamond Jubilee of the Supreme Court, celebrated on January 28, the apex court had a lot to be proud of. What’s more important, the people have faith in the majesty of the law and the particular role the apex court has been performing. The growing number of cases it handles is a measure of the people’s confidence that they would not be disappointed, even if the verdict is against them. They also reconcile themselves to the fact that they did not get the justice they desired, not because they belonged to a particular group or creed, but because there was greater weight in the arguments and evidence produced by the rival party. There were occasions when the court erred, as during the Emergency and in the Bilkis Bano case, but it used the first available opportunity to correct it and move forward. It has also kept pace with the changes in society.

As Chief Justice DY Chandrachud claimed on the occasion, the court has undergone a transformation. He recalled the time when the law was the profession of the “elite men”. Today, over 36% of the working strength of the district judiciary comprises women. Recently, on one single day, the “senior advocate” status was conferred on 11 women practicing in the Supreme Court. Until then, a total of only 12 women had been granted this status. It is a measure of the changing scenario that in the recent competitive test for junior civil judges, a majority of the posts were captured by women in 13 states, including Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Sooner rather than later, women will occupy more judicial posts in high courts and the Supreme Court. These statistics are impressive when there are charges that judicial posts are reserved for the children of retired judges.

Justice Chandrachud gave details of how the court has used technology to modernise its functioning. For instance, there are now as many as 36,209 judgments which can be downloaded by the click of a mouse. More appeals are filed online than in the traditional style. During the Corona period, the court introduced many innovative systems to clear a large number of cases. Yet, the court has long holidays, introduced during the colonial period, and the courtrooms are known for thunderous arguments that continue for days. The culture of adjournments that prevails needs to be replaced by professionalism. In short, the Supreme Court needs holistic reform.

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