New Delhi, Nov 20 : Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday appealed to the Chief Justices of the High Courts to take proactive measures to dispose off cases pending for ten years or more and said the government had taken a series of steps to improve people's access to justice.
Responding to a query in the Lok Sabha by Bahujan Samaj Party leader Danish Ali on creating a bench of the Allahabad High Court in western Uttar Pradesh, Prasad said that the government can move ahead in the matter once there is a recommendation from the High Court and requisite approvals from the state government.
"That has no happened.
Once it happens, we will take it forward," he said.
Prasad also said he has been urging the High Courts to expedite cases that are more than 10 years old.
He urged the Chief Justices of all High Courts to take "proactive measures" to dispose off such cases.
Answering a query on undertrials, the Minister said that bail should be granted in petty cases.
He also said the government has expedited the process of appointment of judges.
"If on a petty offence, one is detained for a longer period, bail should be granted.
That point is well taken and I am already initiating the process in this regard."
Replying to a query by another lawmaker, the Minister said the government has been attempting to release those undertrials who have completed about 50 per cent time in prison.
He also said that the women undertrials who have completed 25 per cent time of their jail term should be released.
On the appointment of judges, the Minister said: "I want to say that in the last five years, we have made 478 appointments of the High Court judges and 34 Supreme Court judges."
"It is a record.
The number of Supreme Court Judges has been increased. There is a need to expedite the appointment in subordinate judiciary. We are emphasising on that. Coming to that process again, there is a case for All India Judicial Service
"They must get space like IAS, IPS so that India has a robust all-India Judiciary to deliver justice.
This is our very clear approach. I must acknowledge that some High Courts are opposed to it. We are in a discussion," he added.
He emphasised that a robust justice delivery system is integral to good governance.
"It is a part of our approach. Arbitration, commercial courts, specifically the fact that India again is rising up in the ease of enforcement of contract, all this is a part of that process," he said.