Bill to cleanse politics of criminals in winter session

Nov 4, 2011, 03.51AM IST TNN[ Dhananjay Mahapatra ]

NEW DELHI: The government is proposing radical reforms to ensure decriminalization of politics and intends to table a bill in the winter session of Parliament proposing to debar candidates facing trial in serious and heinous offences. At present, under the Representation of People Act, only persons convicted by a trial court and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment are debarred from elections for a period of six years, which commences from the date of completion of the prison term. This allows persons facing multiple murder charges to contest elections. Moreover, even if a sitting MP or an MLA is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than two years jail midway through his term, he continues to be a people’s representative and can attend Parliament or assembly if he files an appeal in the higher court and gets a stay on the conviction. The proposed legislation, first reported by TOI on June 17, is going to be strict on such exigencies and says those who are chargesheeted by police, CBI or other investigating agencies for murder, acts of terrorism, rape, dacoity and similar serious and heinous offences would be debarred from contesting elections till the trial court acquits them. The legislation is part of the larger bouquet of anti-corruption measures government has embarked upon to blunt the attacks it has faced from Team Anna as well as political opponents over the issue of corruption. Government plans to pass three legislations: Lokpal Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and Whistleblowers Protection Bill in the winter session. Besides, it has also planned to introduce Grievance Redressal Bill which, while ensuring smooth delivery of services, will also tackle corruption in providing the same. Conceived as an alternative to Team Anna’s insistence that the proposed Lokpal should be tasked with tackling corruption among lower bureaucracy as well, the Grievance Redressal Bill is being projected as a better way of fighting “cutting edge graft”. Government sources point out that under the Lokpal bill, failure to deliver a service is proposed to be treated as an act of corruption. They say this could only delay the delivery of government services since establishing a criminal charge could take time. As against this, the Grievances Redressal Bill provides to separate corruption from failure to deliver a public service/good and, thus ensuring that the grievance for the failure of delivery of service is redressed within a fortnight. During the discussion on stricter measures to decriminalize politics last week in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, law minister Salman Khurshid argued strongly for the bill. These proposals on electoral reforms were firmed up during the tenure of Khurshid’s predecessor M Veerappa Moily, who had constituted a Committee on Electoral Reforms to recommend to the government concrete ways in which the electoral system could be strengthened through legislative means. Khurshid also laid stress on amending the existing provisions of RP Act to make filing of false affidavits by candidates along with nomination papers to declare their assets and criminal antecedents a serious offence which could attract a permanent ban on contesting elections. By this way, disclosure of criminal background would be made non-negotiable.

It means, if a candidate deliberately conceals his criminal antecedents and is found guilty, then he will be forced to abandon a career in electoral politics. The proposed amendments, discussed in the CCPA, also include withdrawing immunity to sitting MPs and MLAs from continuing with their tenure after being held guilty and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment even if they get the conviction stayed by a higher court on appeal. By this, the government intends to force an elected representative to resign from his membership from Parliament or assembly the moment a trial court finds him guilty of an offence and sentences him to more than two years imprisonment.

dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

A public interest litigation petition filed in the Supreme Court by members of the India Rejuvenation Initiative, for fast-tracking criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs, said: “Given a situation in which ‘winnability’ is the sole criterion for selection of candidates and those with deep pockets alone can hope to win elections, a criminal who has amassed money and influence through a ‘mix of terror and patronage’, has greater chances of winning than a clean and decent individual without such’ capabilities’. And most often criminals do win, which is why they are increasingly present in the country’s representative institutions.” The consequences of this trend “are seen in the increasing criminalisation of the process of governance with ministers, legislators, bureaucrats and unscrupulous businessmen combining to plunder public funds and prey on the public.” Criminal cases against politicians pending before courts either for trial or in appeal must be disposed of speedily, if necessary, by appointing special courts, the petition said. A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Jasti Chelameswar issued notice to the Centre, all States and the Election Commission after hearing senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan.

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Campaign Mode Approach to Reduce Pendency in Courts

Following is the text of the speech of Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Law & Justice  IN Calcutta on the campaign mode approach to reduce pendency in couts:

Jawaharlal Nehru, on the afternoon of March 19, 1955, while addressing the members of the Punjab High Court at the inauguration of its new building in Chandigarh, said, “Justice in India should be simple, speedy and cheap.”  He remarked that litigation was a disease and it could not be a good thing to allow any disease to spread an then go out in search of doctors.

At a Joint Conference  of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices held on August 16, 2009, the Hon’ble Prime Minister observed :

Judicial review has breached unprecedented frontiers.  Yet, amidst such strengths, brilliance and dynamism, India has to suffer the scourge of the world’s largest backlog of cases and timelines, which generate surprise globally and concern at home.  The expeditious elimination of this scourge is the biggest challenge for such conferences and should constitute the highest priority for all of us.

The judiciary realised that one of the drawbacks of the justice delivery system was denial to the common man, of access to justice.  This truism was recognised by the judiciary and concern of the Courts in that behalf was reflected in Bihar Legal Support Society vs Chief Justice of India (1986 (4) SCC 767) where the Court said:

….that the weaker section of Indian Humanity have been deprived of justice for long, long years: they have had no access to justice on account of their poverty, ignorance and illiteracy.  They are not aware of the rights and benefits conferred upon them by the Constitution and the law.  On account o their socially and economically disadvantageous position they lack the capacity to assert their rights and they do not have the material resources with which to enforce their social and economic entitlements and combat exploitation and injustice.

To quote from the figures compiled by the Supreme court, a total of 42,17,903 number of cases were pending in the High Courts as on 30th September, 2010 comprising of 33,36,256 Civil Cases and 8,81,647 Criminal cases.   In the Subordinate Courts, this figure was 2,79,53,070 comprising 78,56,456 Civil Cases and 2,00,96,614 Criminal cases.  It is estimated that in some of the subordinate courts over 30-40 percent of arrears relate to petty cases and out of the total pending cases, 9% of the cases were pending for 10 years and above and 24% cases were pending for 5-10 years in both, High Court and Subordinate Courts.  Alarmed with the increasing number of pending cases, a Vision Statement was adopted in the National Consultation on Strengthening Judicary towards Reducing Pendency and Delays held on October 24-25, 2009.  The Statement contained a roadmap for improving justice delivery and legal reforms and steps to reduce pendency in Courts from the present 15 years to 3 years by 2012.  In the backdrop of this, a campaign mode approach is being launched from today the 1st July, 2011 till 31st December, 2011 to reduce pendency.    It is also the endeavour to dispose of long pending cases pertaining to senior citizens, minors, disabled and other marginalized group.

Though the target may not be reached in 2012, ongoing efforts to reduce pendency need to be given greater momentum, in view of the various measures initiated by the Government in recent times and the substantial funding made available.

Government had, in 2007 envisaged a programme under    e-Courts Project for computerization of 12000 Courts with a cost of         Rs. 441.8 Crores.  However, with the pace of time, the Project cost has also increased and the Government has now approved a revised cost of Rs. 935 Crores for the computerization of 12000 Courts by March, 2012 and another 2249 Courts by March, 2014.  West Bengal is one of the high performing States wherein we are aiming to complete the connectivity by July-August this year, ahead of the targeted time.  Citizen centric services will be available through this project and a national arrears grid will come into being.

The Law Commission of India in their 230th Report have taken a serious note of the ever mounting arrears in the Courts and have suggested the following measures to reverse the trend:

(i)   Grant of adjournments must be guided strictly by the provisions of Order 17 of the Civil Procedure Code;

(ii)   Many cases are filed on similar points and one judgment can decide a large number of cases.  Such cases should be clubbed with the help of technology and used to dispose other such cases on a priority basis;  this will substantially reduce the arrears;

 (iii)  Judges must deliver judgments within a reasonable time and in that matter, the guidelines given by the apex court in the case of Anil Rai v. State of Bihar, (2001) 7 SCC 318 must be scrupulously observed, both in civil and criminal cases;

 (iv) Considering the staggering arrears, vacations in the higher judiciary must be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days and the court working hours should be extended by at least half-an-hour;

 (v)  Lawyers must curtail prolix and repetitive arguments and should supplement it by written notes.  The length of the oral argument in any case should not exceed one hour and thirty minutes, unless the case involved complicated questions of law or interpretation of Constitution;

 (vi)  Judgments must be clear and decisive and free from ambiguity and should not generate further litigation.  Lord Macaulay’s following statement made 150 years ago must be a guiding factor:

 “Our principle is simply this –

Uniformity when you can have it,

Diversity when you must have it,

In all cases, Certainty

 (vii)  Lawyers must not resort to strike under any circumstances and must follow the decision of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Harish Uppal (Ex-Capt.) v. Union of India reported in (2003) 2 SCC 45;

 (viii)    Judges and Lawyers, both have to change their mindsets.  Unles the mental barriers to reforms are mellowed, all doses of external remedies are bound to fail.

One must remember Gandhiji’s words “If you want to change anything, you be the change.

 During the campaign for disposal of cases, following steps need to be taken:

(a)  All Session Trials are required to be dealt with by Fast Track Courts;

(b)  All cases where the offences are compoundable are required to be disposed of on priority basis;

(c)  All Magistrates need to be directed to dispose of the cases under Motor Vehicles Act on priority basis;

(d)  A special time-bound drive to be donducted to sispose of Summary Trials under Chapter XXI of Cr.PC by the District Judges and Judicial Magistrates;

(e)  District Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates to take up applications for withdrawal of prosecution u/s 321 of Cr.PC on priority basis;

(f)  In Courts where criminal appeals have also been given in the cases of criminal revisions pending in any court in excess of twenty five in number to be withdrawn and transferred to courts where such appeals are below twenty five in numbers.

(g) Frame Case Flow Management Rules for the Subordinate Courts.  The Rules also provide to put the cases into three different tracks, specifying time limit for each track;

Some of the High Courts have already drawn up their plans for taking up the mission mode approach for reduction in the pendency.   Their plan consists of the following measures:

(a)   Instructed Magistrates to hold Courts in Jails for disposal of petty cases involving undertrial prisoners;

(b)   Constitute Committees at District level involving District Judge, Collector, Superintendents of Police and Jails etc. for discussing the issues relating to criminal justice system;

(c)   Notify case flow management rules;

(d)   Presiding Officers of Magisterial Courts are ordered to hold Courts on Saturdays, alternatively to dispose of petty cases under the Motor Vehicle Act, NI Act, Municipal laws and other such acts.;

(e)   District & Sessions Judges have been directed to rationalize the work load in different Courts;

 (f)     Set up Morning/Evening/Shift/Holiday Courts;

 (g)   Organise Mega Lok Adalats in each District and in the High Court during the financial year 2011-12;

 (h)   Incorporate new Rules for providing faster service of process, hearing on day to day basis, automatic termination of stay after the expiry of two months in cases seeking challenge/stay/transfer the lower court proceedings.

To facilitate the momentum for reduction in pendency, Government of India has made substantial funding.  Rs. 5000 Crores have been awarded by the 13th Finance Commission for utilisation during the next 5 years for improving the justice delivery system through setting up of morning/evening/shift courts, Lok Adalats, Mediation, etc.   Funds for infrastructural development have increased five fold in the current Budget to Rs. 500 Crores.

The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 was enacted by the Government on 2nd October, 2009 to provide for establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the grass root level to provide access to justice at the doorsteps of the citizens with a view to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of social, economic or other disabilities.  A sum of Rs. 150 Crores has been provided in the current financial year for starting the Gram Nyayalayas.  States like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Orissa have already notified and operationalised them.  The Gram Nyayalayas have been envisages to grant relief to the litigants within six months of the registration of cases.

While Government of India is providing sufficient funds for speedy disposal of cases and reduction in the pendency, unless the vacancies are filled up, both in the Higher and Subordinate Judiciary, all efforts being made would not be able to bring about desired fruits.  I would, therefore, urge the Chief Justices to embark upon a plan to fill up as many vacancies in the High Court and the Subordinate Courts during this campaign mode approach for reduction in pendency.

I would like this opportunity to thank the Chief Justices and the State Governments in their approach for the Mis sion Mode Programme for Delivery of Justice and Legal Reforms which commenced on 26th January, 2010 with a view to reduce congestion in jails.   The leadership rendered by all the Chief Justices for realizing the goal and to take further steps in this regard, resulted in deciding cases of over 7.10 lakhs undertrials till 31.5.2011.  This must have brought cheers to as many families also.  I hope that the interest and the leadership shown for the cases of the undertrials by the Chief Justices and the State Governments would be carried forward during this campaign for reduction of overall pendency in the Courts which would help in mitigating the miseries of the litigants and their families.”

Advocates Training Scheme Inaugurated

Rajiv Gandhi Advocates  Training  Scheme  was inaugurated in the National Law University Delhi today.   Minister of Law & Justice Dr. M. Veerappa  MoilyChief Minister of Delhi Smt. Sheila Dikshit and the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and Chancellor of National Law University Delhi Mr. Justice Dipak Misra were present on the occasion.

Presiding over the  function, the  Minister of Law & Justice said “Globalization of law includes global connections, global interdependence, global information, global finance, global governance and global rights. Legal profession in the 21st Century must focus on the rapid changes in legal education and the legal profession that are taking place throughout the world, the phenomenon that is often referred to as the globalization of legal profession.”

The primary purpose behind the development of the lawyers’ training program is to standardize the training of future generations of lawyers in the globalization era. Achieving this goal is critical to ensure that lawyers’ attain a minimum level of legal knowledge and advocacy skills before they take on the responsibilities associated with representing clients before the courts. Additionally, the training plan has been designed to increase public confidence in the legal system by setting clear ethical standards for the practice of law and training future lawyers about their ethical obligations to society and the role they play in promoting the integrity of the legal system as a whole. Training programme helps in enhancing following skills of the advocate trainees.

Builds better communications skills.

Develops hidden talent.

Ensures consistent quality.

Provides greater focus.

Produces more effective/productive efforts.

Clarifies the concept of marketing as a business process.

With respect to the roles of the justice system, the legal profession and the people in this Herculean effort at transformation, the justice system is expected to operate so as to eliminate injustice from society.  The Article 39-A of the Constitution of India mandates that the state shall provide “by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way” to ensure that opportunities for seeking justice are not denied to any citizen “by reason economic or other disabilities”. It imposes a duty on the State to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity and in particular State shall provide free legal aid to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.  Access to Justice is recognised as a fundamental right.  An effective justice delivery system requires that (i) justice be made available at the door step of people and (ii) we should have talented, dedicated and qualified legal professionals who serve at the grass root level. So far as providing justice at the doorstep is concerned, we have courts at the District and Taluka levels. Now, we also have ‘Gram Nyayalaya’ at village and intermediate level.  There is no dearth of talented and dedicated law graduates at grass root level but there is no motivation and encouragement for them to come forward and stay in legal profession at district, Taluka and village level.  Result is, despite their ability most of these young lawyers are not getting proper opportunity and exposure in the profession.  At the end, they become brief less lawyer.  There has been a far reaching cry to give proper professional training to the Advocates so that they not only become good lawyers but also are competent to compete with high profile law firms.

The Supreme Court in the case of State of Maharashtra Vs. Manubhai Pragaji Vashi, (1995) 5SCC 730 has observed that the need for a continuing and well-organised legal education, is absolutely essential reckoning the new trends in the world order, to need the ever-growing challenges.  The scheme envisages selection of 10 young practicing advocates from each state of India, every year for being imparted professional training.

 A preference shall be given to those candidates who belong to SC/ST, OBC, Woman and Physically Handicap. The National Law University, Delhi will implement the scheme at the national level by providing the Advocates one month training in its campus and the Advocates will be placed with a Senior/leading Advocate at their respective places for one month training.

This training programme will cover:

ADR Mechanism for settlement of Disputes;

Plea bargaining and its importance;

How to use Information Technology and Communication in court proceedings? Advantages of these tools in court proceedings;

Art of cross – examination;

How to present the case and argument before the Court?

Provisions contained in “Hague Convention on the Service abroad of Judicial & Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters” – Mechanism of service of summons and other judicial documents issued by Indian court to persons residing in foreign territory and vice versa.

Effect and advantages of having Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in civil and commercial matter; and in criminal matter, Extradition Treaty and Treaty on transfer of convicted persons with foreign countries.

Intellectual Property laws including ‘Competition Law’ – Their use, importance and relevance in modern day business;

Cyber Laws – How to deal with cyber crimes and related issues;

Specific legislations useful in day to day life viz. the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1963, Gram Nyayalaya Act, 2009 etc.

To check motivated PILs, Govt works on law

INDIAN EXPRESS

After he took over as the 38th Chief Justice of India last year, Justice SH Kapadia said huge costs would be imposed on litigants filing frivolous public interest litigation (PIL) petitions. His statement was widely welcomed because instances of unscrupulous elements filing PILs to advance personal or pecuniary interest had witnessed an upward trend in recent years. And last year too, a bench of the apex court raised concern over the misuse of PILs. The same bench had also issued a set of guidelines, which it wanted all courts in the country to observe while entertaining PILs.

In a speech in September 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also expressed concern over the misuse of the PIL: “Many would argue that like in so many things in public life, in PILs too we may have gone too far. Perhaps a corrective was required and we have had some balance restored in recent times.”

Now, in what could result in the most effective tool against frivolous PILs, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice is giving final touches to a law to regulate the PIL. And helping the Ministry in its endeavour is none other than former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati, acknowledged as somebody who along with Justice V R Krishna Iyer pioneered the concept of PIL in the country.

“For last many years, there has been demand that there should be some checks and balances so as to ensure that only genuine PILs, which are filed with the public good in mind, are allowed while those aimed at either harassing some individual or corporate or protecting the interests of an individual or corporate should be checked at the very initial stage. Even the Supreme Court was constrained to issue guidelines to regulate the PILs. We have decided to try and take it forward and bring a legislation laying down guidelines for PILs,” Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said.

Sources in the Law Ministry told The Indian Express that Moily has already held meetings with Justice Bhagwati and some legal experts to seek their suggestions. Among other things, the Ministry is proposing to effectively discourage and curb the PILs filed for extraneous considerations. It also wants to make it an offence for anybody to file a PIL for extraneous and ulterior motives and empower the courts to discourage such PILs by imposing exemplary costs.

In its judgment, where it talked of the need to regulate the PIL, the SC bench had said that instead of “every individual judge devising his own procedure for dealing with the PIL, it would be appropriate for each High Court to properly formulate rules for encouraging the genuine PIL and discouraging the PIL filed with oblique motives”.

Aware that there could be some who might question the need for such a law, Moily said he was ready to bring around all such persons by explaining to them the need to have such a law. “We are not making it illegal to file a PIL. But we only want to check frivolous and motivated PILs,” he said.

Lawyers can practise in all courts soon: Veerappa Moily

J VENKATESAN

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.”

Centre planning to revisit collegium system of judicial appointments

J. Venkatesan  IN THE HINDU

 Government to soon bring a Constitution amendment Bill

Judicial Accountability Bill referred to Parliamentary panel  /  Objection of ‘Vision Statement’ to release undertrial prisoners achieved

New Delhi: Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily on Friday said the Centre was contemplating revisiting the 1993 Supreme Court judgment providing for the collegium system of judicial appointments.

In an exclusive interaction with The Hindu, Mr. Moily said the Centre would soon bring a Constitution amendment Bill to revisit the 1993 judgment, giving primacy to the judiciary over the executive in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. Without elaborating on the nitty-gritty of the proposal, he said the Bill was likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The Centre’s decision to review the collegium system of appointments by amending the Constitution comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court in April referring the matter for consideration by a larger Bench whether the 1993 judgment needed review or not.

Asked about the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, he said the Bill had been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee which was expected to submit its report soon and the Bill was likely to be adopted in the monsoon session.

He said the Bill was intended to lay down judicial standards, to enable declaration of assets and liabilities by the judges and to establish a mechanism to enable investigation and follow-up action into complaints against judges.Asked about the move to set up a National Judicial Commission for appointment and transfer of judges, he said, it was still under consideration.

On the Bill relating to increasing the retirement age of High Court judges, he said the Bill providing for increasing the age of High Court judges from 62 to 65 years was examined by the Standing Committee and likely to be slated for discussion in Parliament in the monsoon session.It was aimed at retaining the High Court judges for three more years which would avoid occurrence of new vacancies on account of superannuation and result in their continuance to clear backlog of cases.

Asked about the progress of the ‘Vision Statement’ launched in October 2009 to release undertrial prisoners, he said with the cooperation of the States and the High Courts, the Centre was able to accomplish the objective and as on May 31, a total of 5,62,397 undertrials were released (on bail) and 77,940 discharged from the cases.He said he had written to the Chief Ministers of all the States commending the efforts of the State governments and the High Courts for achieving the objective.In the letter, Mr. Moily said “having been encouraged with the kind of performance, I would urge upon you to step up the programme which has received the highest acclaim from the citizens and is particularly focused on marginalised society. There is no doubt that with your continued interest in the programme, results will be accelerated.”

Mr. Moily wanted the States to provide video-conferencing facilities in district courts and jails to ensure that the delay in disposal of applications of undertials was reduced to a large extent.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/04/stories/2011060463731100.htm

National Legal E-Library

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...

Image via Wikipedia

The ‘National Legal E-Library’ project of the Government is to be dedicated o the nation on 15 August 2011. Dr. M Veerappa Moily, the Minister of Law & Justice had proposed the need for the formulation of a ‘National Legal e-library’ for students and practitioners of Law on 6 December 2009, during his meeting with the vice chancellors of Law University and Colleges across India.

The scope of this program is creation and management of the ‘National Legal e-library’ for 933 schools in India, Bar Associations, Government Legal departments etc. and meet the needs of academic librarians, students, faculty and young practitioners. It aims to provide a practitioners view and a comprehensive understanding of core subject areas of law.

Technology tools that make the concept of E-Library indispensable:

EASY ACCESS : Campus wide access using IP Authentication.

RESULTS CLUSTERING : Familiarises new users with different classes of content by providing an instant, multi faceted analysis of distribution of hits in each result set.

FLEXIBLE DISPLAY AND OUTPUT OPTIONS : Inclusion of full featured tools that allow for printing, emailing and saving.

INTEROPERABILITY : Works with systems you use to manage your electronic holdings through e-journals systems, Article linking Federated search/Metasearch & Citation export to Reference Works.

SMARTINDEXING TECHNOLOGY : Helps users reach the information they need by applying controlled vocabulary terms for several different taxonomies.

POWERFUL SOURCE SELECTION : Identify sources by type, language, topic, geography and other facets.

The project is likely to be implemented in three phases. In the first phase two comprehensive research platforms will be implemented across all law schools in India. In the second phase the services of the comprehensive research platform will be extended to the entire practitioner universe. Further, e-filing and Practice Management will be extended for all the courts in India in this phase. The third phase focuses on sustained usability and development of a comprehensive education development platform. This phase aims at creating a robust system of legal skill enhancement and development.