Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lawyers can practise in all courts soon: Veerappa Moily

Section 30 of Advocates Act will be notified 50 years after Act came into force

Fifty years after the Advocates Act, 1961, was enacted, the Centre has decided to notify Section 30 of this Act to enable advocates to practise as a matter of right in all courts, tribunals or any quasi-judicial authority.

This provision was not notified when the Act came into force.

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily told The Hindu that the long-pending demands of the lawyers had been conceded, and he had passed appropriate orders for notifying this Section early next week.

Section 30 of the Advocates Act says: “Right of advocates to practice: Subject to the provisions of this Act, every advocate shall be entitled as of right to practise throughout the territories to which this Act extends; in all courts including the Supreme Court; before any tribunal or person legally authorised to take evidence; and before any other authority or person before whom such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force entitled to practice.”

Mr. Moily said: “I traced the file relating to this provision. For some reasons this Section remained in the Statute without being notified. I decided to notify this Section and signed necessary orders. The notification is expected to be issued either on June 7 or 8.”

Expressing satisfaction over the progress in the implementation of ‘vision statement' launched in October 2009, he said under the programme to be launched from July 1, about 40 per cent of the petty cases pending in various courts were to be disposed of in six months through Lok Adalats and morning/evening courts.

He said the 13th Finance Commission provided Rs. 5,000 crore for support to the judiciary and the first instalment of Rs. 1,000 crore had already been released for 2010-2011. The Finance Commission envisaged that all subordinate courts could have extended court hours by hiring retired judges or giving allowances to incumbent judges to dispose of petty cases.

Such courts, he said, were to be established at a cost of Rs. 3.5 lakh each and they were expected to dispose of 225 lakh minor cases annually. In addition Lok Adalats were expected to dispose of 15 lakh a year and by 2015, a total of 75 lakh cases would be disposed of by Lok Adalats.

Mr. Moily said he had written to the Chief Justices of various High Courts underlining the need for reducing the pendency of cases in courts from 15 to three years by 2012. He said he had asked the CJs to launch the campaign from July by fixing targets and types of cases for disposal.

He had suggested to them to follow summary procedure as allowed by law, plea bargaining and compounding of cases to reduce the caseload in courts.

On the progress in computerisation of courts, he said: “The government is implementing a Central sector scheme for computerisation of the District and subordinate courts [e-courts project] in the country and for upgradation of the Information and Communication Technology infrastructure of the Supreme Court and High Courts including video-conferencing facilities.”

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