Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for the expansion of Supreme Court and the establishment of more benches in different parts of the country, as per the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, to put an end to the inconvenience caused to litigants who travel long distances and spend a huge amount of money and energy to access justice. Saying that Election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders must be decided quickly by special benches of higher courts in a time-bound manner, Naidu called for setting up of separate benches to expedite such cases within six months or one year.
Naidu also called upon the three limbs of the state, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary to work together and inspire synergy to ensure all-round development of the nation. He opined that these organs of the state perform their duties best when they don’t transgress into each other’s territory.
Speaking after launching the book ‘Rethinking Good Governance’, authored by the former Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, in New Delhi, the Vice President said that decentralization of powers and responsibilities to local bodies must be implemented more efficiently and asserted that funds, functions, and functionaries must be transferred to these institutions. “This will bring governance closer to people and enhance its credibility and effectiveness,” he added
Opining that the welfare of the common man must be the enduring theme of our vision for transforming India, Naidu said that it was the pious responsibility of all to ensure that the fruits of democratic good governance reaches everyone, especially the ones who are at the farthest end of the development spectrum.
Stating that India was surging forward, fuelled by its vibrant economy and aided by a stable and progressive government, Naidu stressed that India’s far-reaching and path-breaking reforms must be further accelerated by citizen-centric, technology-oriented, robust, transparent, responsive, flexible and adaptable good governance practices.
Pointing out that the three important functions of legislatures were legislative, deliberative and accountability, the Vice President said that while some legislative bodies were functioning well, in many of them, there was certainly considerable room for improvement.
Saying that the constitution has vested the Parliament with sufficient instruments through which it could enforce accountability of the government, Naidu said that the efficacy of these instruments could only be as good as the Parliamentarians and political parties who deploy them.
Observing that the role played by an effective opposition in a Parliamentary democracy could never be undermined, Naidu said that it was up to the opposition to hold the government to account and to provide constructive criticisms and meaningful interventions in the legislative process as and when necessary. “Disrupting proceeding of the house is not the way forward,” he added.
Saying that today’s enlightened citizenry, especially the youth was watching actions of Parliamentarians very closely and questioning their actions, motives, and attitudes within and outside the House, Naidu asked Parliamentarians to always be mindful and respectful of the aspirations of the common man and advised them to carry on with rectitude and propriety, serving as model citizens of the country.
“We need legislators who are well informed and well intentioned and capable of articulating a well-presented viewpoint, not those who are eager to rush to the well of the House,” he said.
The Vice President asked political parties to adopt a code of conduct for their legislators and contribute to policymaking through informed decisions. He wanted Political parties to carefully choose candidates based upon their capacity, calibre, and good conduct and said that they must rise above the narrow considerations of caste and religion that seek to divide the society.
Calling for the need to constantly evaluate governance strategies and its outcomes, Naidu advised policymakers to be flexible and open enough to bring about course corrections whenever necessary.
He wanted them to accord priority to the quality of service delivery on all programs and schemes and ensure that the intended benefits of a programme must reach the people in time.
Expressing concern over the heavy pendency of cases in various courts in the country, the Vice President suggested reforming the system to eliminate judicial delays and also to improve its efficiency.
Pointing that a number of civil and criminal cases have been pending for over 25 years, the Vice President said that there was a need for division of the Supreme Court into a Constitution Bench at Delhi and Cassation benches in four regions – Delhi, Chennai / Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, as suggested the Law Commission
Expressing his agreement with the suggestions made by the Chief Justice of India to improve the functioning of the judiciary, he said that increasing the retirement age of high court judges and making tenure appointments to clear the backlog were pragmatic solutions.