Krishnakant Tamrakar vs The State of Madhya Pradesh - Supreme Court Important Judgment

 Krishnakant Tamrakar vs The State of Madhya Pradesh - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2018 - 

On 28th March, 2018, in the case of Krishnakant Tamrakar v. The State of Madhya Pradesh [Criminal Appeal No.470 of 2018], the Supreme Court considered it appropriate to reflect on some important aspects of speedy justice which were integral to the issue of delay in hearing of criminal appeals by the High Courts. First question was whether, having regard to the nature of jurisdiction of the High Court and the volume of the work, the expectation for speedy disposal of criminal appeals is realistic or there is need for re-engineering of the judicial structure. Secondly, when speedy justice is directly linked to timely appointment of best talent, whether there is need to revisit the existing system of appointment of judges at all levels. Thirdly, what can be the mechanism to plan and oversee the best management practices, including employment of technology, for optimum performance and righteous conduct. Fourth, how uncalled for frequent strikes obstructs access to justice and what steps are required to remedy the situation.

While being “conscious that the above issues are primarily policy matters”, and “the subject matter of restructuring of courts and administration of justice is a matter to be gone into by the executive and the legislature”, the Supreme Court however observed that, since the subject affects fundamental right of speedy justice, it “cannot refuse to look into the problem repeatedly presented to it with a view to draw attention of all concerned, leaving to the concerned authorities to consider and act in the matter.”

Stating “that access to speedy justice is part of fundamental right under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution”, the Supreme Court held as follows:-

(i) In the light of 124th and 272nd Reports of the Law Commission of India, judgment of the Supreme Court in Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited versus Essar Power Limited (2016) 9 SCC 103, the Minutes of the Arrears Committee of Supreme Court dated 8th April, 2017 and all other relevant considerations, “the concerned authorities may examine whether there is need for any changes in the judicial structure by creating appropriate fora to decongest the Constitutional Courts so as to realistically achieve the constitutional goal of speedy justice.”

(ii) In view of 14th Report of the Law Commission of India, judgment of the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Association versus Union of India (1992) 1 SCC 119, the Minutes of the Arrears Committee of Supreme Court dated 8th April, 2017, and the experience on the subject, “pending consideration of issue of All India Judicial Service, there is need to consider the proposal for central selection mechanism for filling up vacancies in courts other than the Constitutional Courts and also to consider as to how to supplement inadequacies in the present system of appointment of judges to the Constitutional Courts at all levels.”

(iii) “There is need to consider in the light of observations hereinabove and all other relevant considerations whether there should be a body of full time experts without affecting independence of judiciary, to assist in identifying, scrutinizing and evaluating candidates at pre-appointment stage and to evaluate performance post appointment. The Government may also consider what changes are required in the process of evaluation of candidates at its level so that no wrong candidate is appointed. What steps are required for ensuring righteous conduct of Judges at later stage is also an issue for consideration.”

(iv) “Pending legislative measures to check the malady of frequent uncalled for strikes obstructing access to justice, the Ministry of Law and Justice may compile information and present a quarterly report on strikes/abstaining from work, loss caused and action proposed. The matter can thereafter be considered in the contempt or inherent jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Court may direct having regard to a fact situation, that the office bearers of the Bar Association/Bar Council who passed the resolution for strikes or abstaining from work or took other steps in that direction are liable to be restrained from appearing before any court for a specified period or till they purge themselves of contempt to the satisfaction of the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court based on an appropriate undertaking/conditions. They may also be liable to be removed from the position of office bearers of the Bar Association forthwith until the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court so permits on an appropriate undertaking being filed by them.

This may be in addition to any other action that may be taken for the said illegal acts of obstructing access to justice. The matter may also be considered by the Supreme Court on receipt of a report from the High Courts in this regard. This does not debar report/ petition from any other source even before the end of a quarter, if situation so warrants.”

Further, the Union of India was directed to file an affidavit in the light of the above observations within three months.


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