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Robber barons everywhere …and of a popular trade leader Wanted: a second airport for Chennai No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Discoms deserve better… Secularism and anti-Hinduism Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Things happen by accident and not by design... More Shakthi to Das’ elbow The rise and rise of KCP Poor quality of university VCs Road development slows down Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet An inexplicable neglect Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Tatas moving out of urea production... Cutting the nose to spite the face The Jan Dhan bonanza Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL PC’s preference for professionals CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Align crops to agro climate endowments… CII projects higher growth… The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Why land prices zoom in TN? More tributes to GR When nations steal growth from one another… Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Moily’s bold thrust TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector A friendly business group Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Noble nonagenarians... West Bengal: mindless malignancy When small is no larger beautiful.. Nuclear power at the nucleus Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami The rise and fall of Annamalai University Return to king coal for urea... All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Quality silica from Neyveli A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science A think tank for Chennai The brown list of Venkitaramanan Polls and promises Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad How Air-India loses customs... The Swadeshi Trump TIAM turns a full cycle Kudos to NDTV... Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Protest masters... Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Fuel for thought Tax agriculture Welcome focus on core competence Small units prefers to remain small... Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... IAS invades NDDB... Vibrant Gujarat Editor's Says Revving up the manufacturing sector More heat than light Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Engineering seats go abegging Why this malaise in medical education? Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Music happens Shanti and Sadhana through Music Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Mu Sigma – is no more Roaring Ro-Ro facility Put expensive assets created to use... Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways The power-full Hindujas A professional at the helm of IRDA... 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New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Delhi is distant… Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Where is Rajaji? F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... When the President was rendered homeless… Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna ONGC at KG Basin A proud Madrasi CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Wise Presidents Another Indian music maestro at the UN Where a state respects its litterateurs… Solar thermal shines… Shale gas and its shallow future Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Funding the un-funded China invests in India Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Banning booze... Welcome GST WTO Meet: resolved to meet again SoA @ 80 When Ratan Tata visited SRM EEC at the National Media Centre TGS- The king storyteller GNS - 100: our first subscriber Fortune for Indian Airlines The nuclear option Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Breaththrough in malaria control Contrarian cousins L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Solar, solar everywhere … A more liberated TN… Delhi Chalo... He continues the focus on social amelioration Kulandai was a giant Quality education through the PPP mode Delhi is distant Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara No Maha Koottani in TN... Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW The Gulf aviation boom The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Russi Mody – a tribute For whom the MIDS bell tolls? TELANGANA at last…BUT S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Come elections, come advertisements... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Telangana in top gear… There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Revive development banks... Demise of a media baron... Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Tribute – M V Murugappan Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Shipping woes of Chennai companies Silver Years of Madras Musings A rich pool of talent not utilised…. IPL type auction for VCs? Muffled voices for merit… When online building permits work…. The star of Spencers is no more Plummeting profits of PSBs Towards speedy justice Tribute Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... GM Technology at last! Cement prices continue to rise… PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more He saved millions from starvation... Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Building loyalty through the stomach Readers' Mail Boy, can you beat these? Modi storms Silicon Valley Gas is the way forward Which side are you, Montek? Intellectual of rare qualities The few handicaps... L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Sweeter prospects for sugar Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Delhi returns to BJP Increasing non co-operation of state leaders CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Gay abandon in pricing Valli, they are more marginalised Sweet news for TN sugar mills Streamlining mandatory third party cover Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Rahman at CIC Sri Lanka votes for change When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model The why of tax incentives A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital
 
Towards speedy justice

For long, we have been pointing to the need for reform of the judiciary. There has been a huge pile up of cases at all three levels - district courts, High Courts, and the Supreme Court. An estimated four million cases are pending before the High Courts and 22.4 million cases before various other courts as of 12 August 2016. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur bitterly criticised the government for delaying the appointments of High Court judges. He pointed to 470 vacancies, 44.3 per cent of the total strength of judges.  “The entire system has collapsed. By the time an appeal is heard, the accused would have already served a life sentence.  This is unacceptable,” said the court.

The government has been sitting over this issue, stalling the transfer of judges and on the proposal of the Supreme Court Collegium on the appointment of 74 judges.

The sole power enjoyed by the Supreme Court for over two decades in the appointment and transfer of judges of the higher courts has not been to the liking of the executive. The government has been unhappy over the Apex Court striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act in October last year. The NJAC sought to end the Supreme Court’s sole power to appoint judges. The NJAC suggested power for the executive to have an equal say with the potential to veto the recommendations of the Supreme Court.  

Shortage of judges has been only a part of the malaise. Senior advocate C Ramakrishna points to the severe shortfalls in systems and procedures and the low productivity of the entire system. IE has also pointed to the lack of attention at the admission stage, the indiscriminate sanctioning of adjournments and total unconcern for completion of the whole process within a reasonable time frame.  

The government has been responsible for a large number of cases. Tamil Nadu perhaps provides a striking example of this with the ruling party initiating libel suits against political opponents and journalists in different courts. Add to this the litigation propensity of corporates, and the government not agreeing with the verdicts of lower courts.

A significant number of grossly underemployed advocates are politically oriented and indulge in agitations and protests at the drop of the hat. Scores of days are lost at the Madras High Court through such agitations.

It used to be standard practice for advocates to take processions inside the court halls and shout at the courts including that of the Chief Justice. On 19 February 2009, one witnessed the most bizarre of agitations with lawyers throwing stones at the police and unruly elements setting fire to the police station inside the court premises.

The present Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, has been seriously attempting to bring order. A couple of his decisions resulted in the transfer of Justice C S Karnan, who had been refusing to work along with the Chief Justice and other colleagues.

A few months ago, Chief Justice Kaul brought about a significant change: worried about the limitations and inadequacy of the state police; he succeeded in handing over the security to the Central Industrial Security Force. The advocates obviously have not been happy about this change.

Some lawyers in Madurai defied the order of the Madras High Court making it mandatory for two-wheeler riders to wear helmets. Bus loads of advocates from Madurai marched through the court’s corridor shouting slogans.

Sadly, one witnesses a lack of concern for the rule of law and adherence to court orders. For several weeks now, advocates have been paralysing court work in protest of the rules framed to deal with unruly lawyers. Several upright judges of the High Court have been seeking transfer to other courts. Justice V Ramasubramaniam is one such. This erudite scholar known for several outstanding judgments requested such a transfer and recently shifted to Hyderabad.

Time was when leading advocates of Tamil Nadu were in demand for representing cases in Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere.  Today, one witnesses the sad spectacle of the absence of such brilliant lawyers in the corridors of Madras High Court. The government engages lawyers from the north or the west to represent its cases. The malaise seems to start from the law colleges, which have become breeding grounds for political confrontations.

 In this light, the present confrontation between the highest judiciary and the executive at the Center is a matter of concern.

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