File Photo: President Pranab Mukherjee.
Irrespective of system of judges' appointment, the process must operate on "well-established and transparent principles to select the best" and no one can meddle with it, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday while asking the judiciary to "reinvent itself through introspection and self-correction".
The statement, made in the backdrop of the historic Supreme Court verdict quashing the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, assumes significance as the President said that the judiciary is "autonomous" and a vital feature of democracy.
"...The appointment process must conform to the highest standards of probity. Whichever system of appointment we follow, it must operate on well-established and transparent principles to select the best.
"No one can meddle in the process. An autonomous judiciary is a vital feature of democracy. Yet being an important pillar of democracy, it must reinvent itself through introspection and self-correction, as and when necessary," the President said while inaugurating the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the High Court of Delhi at Vigyan Bhawan.
President Mukherjee also said that there was the need for quick justice delivery system which should be "accessible" and "affordable" to all.
"Delay in administering justice is as good as denial. There are over 60,000 court cases pending in the Supreme Court, another over 40 lakh pending in the High Courts, and over 2.6 crore in the district and subordinate courts. The phenomenon of high pendency must change through multi-dimensional effort.
"Courts must have enough resources to boost their infrastructure. Vacancies in judicial positions must be filled up on priority. Having said that, expeditious selection must be no ground for sacrifice on quality," he said.
The President also hailed the Delhi High Court for its efforts in witness protection scheme, e-filing and adopting mediation and conciliation as tools for alternate dispute resolution mechanism.
He also lauded the theme 'Justice for all' of the year-long Golden Jubilee celebration and said that the common law principle of 'locus standi' has been enlarged by the judiciary to broaden the scope of justice.
Besides the President, Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also spoke at the function.