1. 'Chief Minister's Promise In Press Conference Enforceable' : Delhi High Court Directs To Implement Kejriwal's Assurance On Rent Payment For Poor
In a notable judgment, the Delhi High Court has held that a promise or assurance given by the Chief Minister in a press conference amounts to an enforceable promise and that a CM is expected to exercise his authority to give effect to such a promise.
A single judge bench comprising of Justice Pratibha M Singh observed thus: The promise/assurance/representation given by the CM clearly amounts to an enforceable promise, the implementation of which ought to be considered by the Government. Good governance requires that promises made to citizens, by those who govern, are not broken, without valid and justifiable reasons.
Furthermore, it said: The CM is expected to have had the said knowledge and is expected to exercise his authority to give effect to his promise/assurance. To that extent, it would not be out of the place to state that a reasonable citizen would believe that the CM has spoken on behalf of his Government, while making the said promise."
The Court was dealing with a petition filed by daily wage labourers/ workers, who were unable to pay their monthly rent, to seek enforcement of a promise made by the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dated 29th March last year.
A statement given in a consciously held press conference, in the background of the lockdown announced due to the pandemic and the mass exodus of migrant labourers, cannot be simply overlooked. Proper governance requires the Government to take a decision on the assurance given by the CM, and inaction on the same cannot be the answer.
"It cannot be held that there was no expectation or anticipation by the citizens that the CM's promise would be given effect to. The doctrine of promissory estoppel also being an equitable doctrine, equity requires this Court to hold the GNCTD responsible for the said indecision or lack of action, on the promise/assurance given by the CM," the Court held.
Source: Bar & Bench
2. Justice Does Not Always Require Black Gowns & Elaborate Arguments, Future Belongs To Mediation': CJI NV Ramana
Addressing the inaugural session of International Virtual Mediation Summer School, 2021, the Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana expressed his belief in the role of mediation in dispute resolution encouraging law students and lawyers to learn the skills. In his address, he emphasized on education as a tool of empowerment and bringing about change in society. The future belongs to mediation, he said.
In the event organized by Nivaaran-Mediators of Supreme Court of India, Justice of Appeal Vasheist V Kokaram, Judge the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago and Brain Speers, the current President of Commonwealth Lawyers Association were also present.
The Chief Justice expressed his belief in Mediation as one of the most important conflict resolution mechanisms currently, which will only continue to grow in relevance in the coming future. He referred to his address at the India-Singapore Mediation Summit. He had noted that the practice of Mediation was commonly followed in India before the arrival of the British. Emphasizing the need for a system of dispute resolution, such as Mediation, he noted
Not only did the British establish the framework for the modern Indian judicial system, but they were also instrumental in the creation of the myth that dispute resolution, and justice, require black coats and gowns and elaborate arguments. It is time to dispel such myths and notions. The reality is most of the litigants in India suffer from many social and economic constraints. What they need is a quick, inexpensive, and convenient method of dispute resolution.
He concluded with the words of the Mahatma Gandhi- "I realized that the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder…..Twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing out private comprises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby- not even money, certainly not my soul."
Source: Bar & Bench
3. Trial Judges Work Amidst Appalling Conditions; Colonial Mindset Towards District Judiciary Must Change: Supreme Court
The colonial mindset which pervades the treatment meted out to the district judiciary must change, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment passed on Thursday (22nd July 2021).
The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy noted that the Trial judges work amidst appalling conditions.
Lack of infrastructure, inadequate protection, examples of judges being made targets when they stand up for what is right and sadly, a subservience to the administration of the High Court for transfers and postings which renders them vulnerable, the court said.
The court was considering an appeal against the Madhya Pradesh High Court order concerning the Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia's murder in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh. In this case, the Court had earlier taken note of the harassment faced by Additional Sessions Judge, Hata who is in charge of the criminal case .
The apprehensions expressed by the ASJ in his order dated 8 February 2021 of the machinations of a highly influential accused evading the process of law are amply borne out by the facts which have been 29 revealed before this Court. There is no reasonable basis to doubt the anguish and concern of a judicial officer.", the bench said.
The court said that Judicial independence of the district judiciary is cardinal to the integrity of the entire system as it is the first point of interface with citizens.
An independent and impartial judiciary is the cornerstone of democracy. Judicial independence of the district judiciary is cardinal to the integrity of the entire system. The courts comprised in the district judiciary are the first point of interface with citizens. If the faith of the citizen in the administration of justice has to be preserved, it is to the district judiciary that attention must be focused as well as the 'higher' judiciary.
Trial judges work amidst appalling conditions – a lack of infrastructure, inadequate protection, examples of judges being made targets when they stand up for what is right and sadly, a subservience to the administration of the High Court for transfers and postings which renders them vulnerable. The colonial mindset which pervades the treatment meted out to the district judiciary must change. It is only then that civil liberties for every stakeholder – be it the accused, the victims or civil society – will be meaningfully preserved in our trial courts which are the first line of defense for those who have been wronged.
The court also observed that the Constitution specifically envisages the independence of the district judiciary. This is implicit in Article 50 of the Constitution which provides that the State must take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State. The district judiciary operates under the administrative supervision of the High Court which must secure and enhance its independence from external influence and control. This compartmentalization of the judiciary and executive should not be breached by interfering with the personal decision-making of the judges and the conduct of court proceedings under them, it said.
Source: Bar & Bench
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