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NEW DELHI, April 3, 2015( Agencies)  A two-day conclave led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu with Chief Justices of 24 High Courts in attendance began on Friday at the Supreme Court premises to discuss thrust areas of judicial reforms and resolve problems, including pendency and court infrastructure, faced by the judiciary.With 2.64 crore undecided cases in the subordinate courts and 42 lakh cases pending in the High Courts, expeditious disposal of cases is the key issue to be discussed. To address this issue, the agenda includes discussion on development of infrastructure, undertaking judicial reforms, ICT enablement of courts and specific steps required for reduction of arrears and ensuring speedy trial.Chief Justice Dattu decided to go ahead with the judicial conference despite objection voiced from within his brethren about it being held on a religious holiday — Good Friday. Justice Kurian Joseph, a Supreme Court judge, has reportedly written a letter to the CJI taking exception to hosting such an “important conference” on a day when some of the judges are otherwise engaged with religious ceremonies and family obligations.The Chief Justice is reported to have replied to Justice Joseph, explaining that the conference was scheduled to resolve immediate issues concerning the judicial institution, and he felt that institutional interests overcame individual interests.Chief Justice Dattu and the two senior-most Supreme Court judges, Justices T.S. Thakur and Anil R. Dave are jointly heading the judicial conference. Justice Joseph, it was informed, is now in Kochi district in his native State of Kerala.April 5 will also see the judges participating at a joint conference of Chief Justices of High Courts and Chief Ministers of States to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.This conference is periodically held to address pressing issues relating to the administration of justice in the country. The last one was held in April, 2013.The cardinal points of discussion in this conference would be the role of judiciary in aiding the government’s commitment to ease doing business in India.
The 14th Finance Commission has endorsed a number of activities aimed at improving the justice delivery system at an estimated cost of Rs. 9,749 crore over the next five years and has urged States governments to undertake these activities from additional devolution of funds to States.
Other issues flagged are developing a National Vision and Mission Plan for the justice sector for 2015-20, greater financial autonomy for the judiciary, strengthening of legal aid services, alternate dispute settlement mechanism, juvenile justice system, etc.The Centre has released Rs. 3,131 crore to improve judicial infrastructure and Rs. 1,947 crore under the 13th Finance Commission for ADR Centres, judicial academies, lok adalats, etc.
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