About 4,000 posts are vacant in the lower judiciary and 250 posts of judges in various High Courts
The union government has asked the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as well as Chief Justices of High Courts to fill up vacancies in various courts, mostly in lower judiciary, for speedy disposal of huge backlog of cases in the country.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Lok Sabha on Monday that about 4,000 posts are vacant in the lower judiciary and 250 posts of judges in various high courts.
"I have written to the Chief Justice of India and chief justices of various high courts to ensure that vacant posts are filled up at the earliest to clear the backlog of cases," he said during Question Hour.
Prasad's comment came after RK Singh from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the "judicial system in the country has collapsed" as there is huge backlog of court cases and it was leading to law and order problems.
With this, AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi and BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi pointed out that Singh was himself Union Home Secretary and asked as to how he could make such a statement.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan advised the BJP member from Bihar to desist from making such sweeping comments to which Singh said he would follow the advice.
To a question on Gram Nyayalayas, Prasad said the government had planned to set up 5,000 Gram Nyayalayas at Panchayat level under the 12th Five Year Plan but so far only 159 of them could be set up.
He said the government has allocated Rs4,867 crore for development of judicial infrastructure under the centrally sponsored scheme for development of infrastructure facilities for judiciary during 12th Plan.
He said the issues affecting implementation of the Gram Nyayalayas scheme were discussed in the conference of Chief Justices of high courts and chief ministers on 7 April 2013.
Prasad said it was decided in the conference that state governments and high courts should decide the question of establishment of Gram Nyayalayas wherever feasible taking into account their local problems.
"The focus is on covering those Talukas under the Gram Nyayalayas scheme where regular courts have not been set up," he said.
Maharashtra Health Minister Shetty said there is no need to panic as Ebola infection can happen only if there is a close contact with those infected
A resident of Vasai in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, who recently arrived in the country from Lagos in Nigeria, is being treated for symptoms of Ebola at an isolated ward of a government hospital.
Maharashtra Health Minister Suresh Shetty said Lalit Kumar was suffering from vomiting after returning from Lagos.
He is being treated in the isolation ward of a government hospital by doctors, he said.
His samples have been sent to Pune's National Institute of Virology for confirmation.
Shetty said there is no need to panic as Ebola infection can happen only if there is a close contact with those infected.
The World Health Organisation had last week issued a global health emergency due to Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak. WHO declared the current EVD outbreak as the “most complex outbreak leading to public health emergency,” calling for global health alert in all countries.
The four countries affected with EVD are all in western Africa— Guinea (393 deaths), Sierra Leone (286 deaths), Liberia (282 deaths) and Nigeria (1 death).
If there is a campaign to defame the judiciary in the eyes of the public, you are doing a great damage to democracy and don't shake people's confidence in judiciary, the chief justice told the petitioner
The Supreme Court on Monday came out strongly against repeated attempts and misleading campaign being made to defame the judiciary, saying great damage is being done to democracy.
"There is a misleading campaign going across to defame the judiciary and repeated attempts have been made to spread incorrect information," a bench headed by Chief Justice (CJI) RM Lodha observed.
The remarks were made while dismissing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to declare the decision of the collegium to recommend the name of Karnataka High Court judge, Justice KL Manjunath as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court as non-binding.
The PIL filed in the apex court by Ram Shankar had sought that in future all recommendations of the collegium on appointment of judges should be put on the apex court website.
At the outset of the hearing, the Bench wanted to know from the petitioner as to who informed him about the name recommended by the collegium.
"Who told you that his (Manjunath) name has been recommended for elevation. Because I am the Chief Justice and I head the collegium, I am not sure and I don't know whether there is any other collegium," the CJI said.
The CJI further said that "the collegium never recommended the name of Manjunath" and there is some misleading campaign going on.
"If there is a campaign to defame judiciary in the eye of public, you are doing a great damage to democracy. Don't shake people's confidence in judiciary. For God's sake don't try to defame judiciary," the CJI, who was heading a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman, observed.
The CJI said as an institution the collegium had its limitations in selecting persons. "After all judges too come from the same society. But to carry on a campaign just because of allegations against one or two judges is unfair," he added.