Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CJI sets up Social Justice Bench for public interest cases

Resoulute that people’s voices never go unheard before the highest court of the land, Chief Justice of India H L Dattu has set up a special bench, christened “Social Justice Bench”, to specifically deal with the issues troubling a common man in everyday life.

This is the first time the Supreme Court will have a dedicated bench to hear cases pertaining to public interest and all fresh PILs may be heard by the new bench from now. Currently, such cases are scattered over different benches.

Notifying the constitution of a two-judge bench on Wednesday, the CJI, through an official note, expressed concern over pendency of several cases in the Supreme Court without a proper hearing.

Cases that relate to problems in society and those which have a direct impact on the rights of the people are the areas where the constitutional mechanism has to play a proactive role so as to meet the goals of the Constitution, according to the note.

“Honb’le the Chief Justice of India is of the view that these cases shall be given a specialised approach for their early disposal so that the masses will realise the fruits of the rights provided to them by the constitutional text,” stated the note, adding the CJI’s order aimed at securing social justice — one of the ideals of the Constitution.

Secretary General VSR Avadhani told The Indian Express that the CJI has directed that the Social Justice Bench would start functioning from December 12. The new bench will devise a procedure to expeditiously deal with the issues and would continue to sit on every working Friday at 2 pm to monitor the implementation of its directions to authorities concerned.

Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Uday U Lalit would comprise the bench, which will hear not only the pending cases but also all the fresh matters on the pertinent issues. Out of around 200 such cases pending in the court, 65 cases have been identified to begin with and the cases, already pending before other benches, may get transferred to the special bench on the directions of the CJI.

Release of surplus food grains for people affected by natural calamities after framing a comprehensive scheme for public distribution, rehabilitation of sex workers, prevention of untimely death of pregnant women and children due to malnourishment or lack of medical care, hygienic mid-day meal, shelter homes for the destitute and homeless and education for the children are illustrations of the kind of cases that the new bench would take up.

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