DB for improving accountability, efficiency of justice

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In a Public Interest Litigation espousing the cause of public at large at different forums keeping in view the interest of the legal fraternity and public at large with an aim to improve the accountability and efficiency of justice dispensation system towards people of the State and the quality of justice as well, a Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur issued various directions including the prayer for directing the Registry to treat all the contempt petitions as specially ordered cases by constituting Special Benches.

In order to enable the Benches to dispose of such contempt petitions, the Registry on administrative side is directed to furnish year wise and Judge-wise list of all contempt petitions for posting the matters on priority basis.

In the PIL, petitioner sought directions to respondents to implement the Jammu & Kashmir Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2016 in their letter and spirit vis-à-vis the appointment of Law Officers, Public Prosecutors and Standing counsels, also seeks direction to the respondents to implement and carry out the directions and guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India in clubbed SLPs (C) in cases titled State of Punjab and ors vs Brijeshwar Singh Chahal and ors and Pardeep Kumar Rapria vs State of Haryana & ors in its letter and spirit.

Division Bench observed that in so for first four prayers, Advocate General was directed to take notice and get instructions. Insofar as appointment of law officers, public prosecutors and standing counsels, it is answered by the answering respondents through counsel in the response filed before this Court on 28.04.2016 that the Jammu & Kashmir Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2016 are being followed and shall be followed both in letter and spirit regarding the aforesaid appointments. Advocate General also assured this Court that the written undertaking before this Court will be fully complied with.

Division Bench further said that in case the fee payable is not paid within three months as stated supra the amount payable shall be paid with 9% interest from the date of the expiry of three months.

Division Bench maintained that insofar as the prayer for directing the Registry to treat all the contempt petitions as specially ordered cases by constituting Special Benches. In order to enable the Benches to dispose off such contempt petitions, the Registry on administrative side is directed to furnish year wise and Judge-wise list of all contempt petitions for posting the matters on priority basis. With these observations Division Bench disposed off the PIL.

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