Bigger and better: On number of Supreme Court judges


Bigger and better: On number of Supreme Court judges

More judges are welcome, but SC must focus on its role as interpreter of the Constitution
Any move to increase the strength(मज़बूती/शक्ति) of the judiciary ought to be welcomed, given the perennial(लगातार/ चिरस्थायी) complaint that availability(उपलब्धता) of judges is not increasing(वृद्धि) in proportion(अनुपात ) to the institution(संस्था) of cases( मामलों ). In this perspective(संभावना/परिप्रेक्ष्य), the Union Cabinet’s decision(फैसला) to raise the strength of the Supreme Court from 31 to 34, including the Chief Justice of India, will help in dealing with the large pendency — 59,331 cases on July 11. The law that fixes the number of judges in the highest court was last amended(संशोधन ) in 2009 to raise the figure from 26 to 31. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had written to the Prime Minister recently, highlighting the problem of paucity(कमी) of judges, due to which he was unable to constitute(गठन) enough(पर्याप्त ) “Constitution Benches”(संविधान पीठों ) to decide important questions of law. However, a moot question is whether the highest court should go into the correctness(शुद्धता) of every decision of every high court. Are the judicial resources(संसाधन) available being used optimally(बेहतर)? Is valuable(मूल्यवान/महत्वपूर्ण) time being taken up by mundane(सांसारिक ) matters(मामलों) that do not impinge(टकराना) on larger questions that involve interpretation of laws and constitutional provisions(प्रावधानों) ? For instance, routine bail matters land up in the Supreme Court within days of persons being arrested. Every major crime or disaster(आपदा/विपत्ति ) seems to invite a litigant(विवादी), ostensibly(जाहिरा तौर पर) in public interest, who mentions the matter before the Chief Justice for urgent hearing. The court is being invited to even oversee flood relief work.

A mere increase in the court’s strength may not be enough to liquidate(नष्ट करना/चुकाना) the burgeoning docket. Another set of measures(उपायों) that would save the court’s time, including a reasonable(उचित ) restraint(संयम) on the duration(अवधि) of “oral arguments(मौखिक तर्कों) and a disciplined(अनुशासित ) adherence(पालन) to a schedule of hearings may be needed. In this case, one of the principal objectives should be to preserve(संरक्षण) the apex court’s primary( प्राथमिक) role as the ultimate(अंतिम/परम) arbiter(मध्यस्थ) of constitutional questions and statutory(क़ानूनी/सांविधिक) interpretation(विवेचन/स्पष्टीकरण) . All other questions involving a final decision on routine matters, especially civil cases that involve nothing more than the interests of the parties before it, ought to be considered(विचार करना/मानना) by a mechanism that will not detract(घटाना/ कम करना) from the court’s primary role. Some countries have brought in a clear division at the level of the apex judiciary by having separate constitutional courts, which limit themselves to deciding questions of constitutional importance. It may be worthwhile considering the 229th Report of the Law Commission, suggesting(सुझाव) a new system under which there will be one Constitution Bench in Delhi, and four ‘Cassation Benches’ for different regions of the country. These will be final appellate courts for routine litigation. This arrangement may also increase access to justice to those living in far-flung areas of the country and who may otherwise have to come to Delhi and spend more time and money in pursuing appeals. It may also cut down on the time taken for disposal(निपटान/व्यवस्था) of cases.

Important Vocabulary

1. Strength(मज़बूती/शक्ति)
Synonyms: clout, courage, durability, energy, firmness
Antonyms: cowardice, idleness, inactivity, infirmity, instability

2. Perennial(लगातार/ चिरस्थायी
Synonyms: chronic, continual, continuing, eternal, longstanding
Antonyms: ceasing ending halting, infrequent, intermittent

3. Perspective(संभावना/परिप्रेक्ष्य),
Synonyms: angle, aspect, attitude, context, mindset

Synonyms: banal, day-to-day, everyday, humdrum, normal
Antonyms: abnormal, uncommon, unusual, exciting, extraordinary

5. Disaster(आपदा/विपत्ति )
Synonyms: calamity, catastrophe, collapse, crash, debacle
Antonyms: achievement, advantage, attainment, benefit, blessing

6. Impinge(टकराना
Synonyms: encroach infringe, intrude, affect, disturb
Antonyms: leave alone, avoid, dodge

Synonyms: adversary, aspirant, candidate, challenger, competitor
Antonyms: ally, assistant, friend, helper, associate

8. Ultimate(अंतिम/परम )
Synonyms: eventual, closing, end, extreme, latest
Antonyms: auxiliary, beginning, extra, first, inessential

9. Valuable(मूल्यवान/महत्वपूर्ण)
Synonyms: beneficial, costly, expensive, helpful, important
Antonyms: cheap, disadvantageous, harmful, inexpensive, reasonable

10. Adherence(पालन)
Synonyms: attachment, faithfulness, loyalty, obedience, cohesion
Antonyms: disloyalty, inconstancy, unsteadiness

11. Statutory(क़ानूनी/सांविधिक)
Synonyms: lawful, legal, judicial, rightful
Antonyms: illegal , illegitimate, illicit, unlawful

12. Detract(घटाना/ कम करना)
Synonyms: draw away, backbite, belittle, blister, cheapen
Antonyms: commend, compliment, develop, enlarge, exaggerate

13. Disposal(निपटान/व्यवस्था
Synonyms:clearance, demolition, destruction, disposition, dumping
Antonyms: building, construction, beginning, hold, keeping

14. Arbiter(मध्यस्थ)
Synonyms: arbitrator, go-between, mediator, moderator, referee

15. Liquidate(नष्ट करना/चुकाना
Synonyms: convert, pay off, quit, reimburse, repay
Antonyms: remain, stay, take, fail, hold

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