On the eve of the National Law Day, the All India Bar Association has put across their views to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on the present legal system in India.
On the eve of the National Law Day, the All India Bar Association has put across their views to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on the present legal system in India. The dignitaries who attended the meeting included Mr. Salman Khurshid, Hon'ble Minister of Law and Justice; Mr. V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State; Dr. Adish Aggarwala, Chairman of All India Bar Association; Sri C.L. Ruala, Member of Parliament and Vice President of Indian Council of Jurists and other members of the Lok Sabha like Mr. Bhubeneswar Kalita and Mr. Ninong Ering.
The AIBA has requested the Prime Minister to consider the following key issues:
Retirement Age of Judges - To increase the age of retirement of the Supreme Court judges from 65 years to 68 years and High Court judges from 62 years to 65 years. The lower court judges retirement age should also be increased to 62 years.
No post retirement jobs - Judges should not be appointed to head Commissions, Tribunals or any such authority after their retirement.
Mandatory Judicial Clerkships for all law graduates - It should be made compulsory for every new entrant in the legal profession to work for two years as a Law Clerk with Judges – those graduating from National Law Schools with the Judges of the Supreme Court of India and they should be paid a stipend of Rs. 40,000/- per month; those from State level law schools and Central Universities and best private universities with the Judges of High Courts and they should be paid a stipend of Rs. 30,000/- per month; and the others with the Judges at district courts and they should be paid a stipend of Rs. 20,000/- per month. The AIBA has contended that such a step will help in reducing the arrears of cases in courts as the Judges will get proper assistance and the budding lawyers will also get necessary experience.
The Prime Minister has asked the Law Minister to work on the changes suggested by the AIBA. Speaking to Bar & Bench Dr. Adisha Aggarwala said, “the Prime Minister and the Law Minister have conveyed that they will give serious consideration to these recommendations”.
Some of the issues raised by the AIBA are radical and will have implications across the Indian legal system. The suggestion to increase the age of retirement of judges has been an issue under consideration for quite sometime. However, the most interesting suggestion is with respect to the implementation of 'mandatory judicial clerkships for all law graduates'. While one can argue about the benefits and pitfalls of this suggestion, this seems to be a utopian idea which cannot be implemented in the real world.