In a Public Interest Litigation filed by Meenakshi Salathia a practicing lawyers seeking strict enforcement Jammu & Kashmir Rules framed by the Governor during Governor rules laying down criteria for appointment of State Law Officers.
In the PIL it has been submitted that India is a Welfare State. The key role of the Government in a country like India is protection and well-being of its citizens which includes a healthy legal dispensation of justice system in the country as well. However, in a democracy, Government has become transparent and take strict measures which serve the larger public interest, besides, the transparency in its public dealing without there being scope for any ambiguity.That with the event of society being so dynamic, laws are evolving too. In the words of Justice Krishna Iyer ‘every judge is an activist either on the forward gear or on the reverse’. Judicial Activism is not a distinctly separate concept from usual judicial activities but the word ‘activism’, which means “being active”, implies ‘doing things with decision’ and activist is the ‘one’ who favours intensified activities. With judicial activism, attributable to the most noble class in the society – the Legal Intellect – many laws have evolved with time and societal aspirations of the people. In a country like India, which is still in its developing phase, the need of the hour is a very strong legal infrastructure to cater to the evolving laws in the State. Thus, in our country Legal Wing requires a strong push for improving the accountability and efficiency towards its people. That the system of justice dispensation in a country is an indispensable organ of smooth functioning of a Government. In a dream of an ideal justice dispensation system, lawyers have a critical role to play. In fact, it begins with the Lawyer – legal officers of the Court, responsible for building upon whatever gains are made in the justice dispensation, repairing of errors, etc. The responsibility, thus, falls on the shoulders of Lawyers to take care of the falling professional ethics and standards of the profession. That the petitioner, being a public spirited Lawyer herself, feels her bounded duty towards the Legal profession and the necessity of its progressive growth in the State as a noble profession because part of the duty in being a lawyer is working to make sure that there is justice not just for some, but all people.
It has been further submitted that in a country like ours where Rule of Law is the essence of functioning of the three organs of the democratic system and upholding the Rule of Law even selection of an officer in any Department of the State, is mandatorily through a properly defined thorough process of selection except in the case of the Law officers of the Court which includes the Advocate General, Additional Advocate Generals, Deputy Advocate Generals, Advocates and Record for the Supreme Court of India, Government Advocates, Public Prosecutors, Standing Counsels in the High Court as well as Subordinate Courts and Special Counsels for the State.
It is submitted that the appointment of Government counsels in the State of J&K used to be purely on political considerations. There was no fixed criterion for selection of the Law officers in the State but it was based on the formation of the Government and the political stalwarts in the State heading the Government and the back-log, pendency of the cases is day in and day out on the rise. Most of the time it causes delay in dispensation of justice. It is worthwhile to mention that there as many as 3344 contempt petitions pending in the Jammu Wing of the Hon’ble High Court whereas 2800 contempt petitions in Srinagar Wing. As per the information of the petitioner, one of the contempt petition arising out of SWP is pending since the year 2000. In view of the pendency of such number of contempt petitions, the public of J&K is being denied the fruits of judicial pronouncements which has the effect of eroding the confidence of the public in the pious institution of judiciary because despite the fact they are armed with judgment of the Hon’ble Court in their favour, yet, don’t get justice. That the sorry state of affairs vis-à-vis appointment of Law officers existed till 23rd March, 2016 when the State was passing through Governor Rule. His Excellency, the Governor of State of J&K, during brief stint of his rule ensured the issuance of SRO 98 dated 24-03-2016 in terms of which the rules known as the Jammu & Kashmir Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2016 were made.