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rs pThe central government will soon fill 25 percent of vacant posts in high courts across India as it has started getting proposals to reduce pendency of cases, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Sunday.

“We have, in principle, approved filling 25 percent of vacant posts in all high courts as proposals have started coming in from them for quick decisions,” Prasad said at a legal event here.

Admitting that huge vacancies in the judiciary were leading to cases mounting in all courts, he said a record 4,382 judicial posts were vacant across the country till December 2013.

“State governments have to improve the infrastructure in courts at all levels as it was their responsibility though the central government will work with them in tandem to speed up the process” Prasad said in his convocation address at the National Law School of India University.

Referring to the new law on judicial appointments passed by parliament, he said the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill was a big step forward in reforming the judicial system.

“The amended law will mark the beginning of a new participatory process with greater transparency in the selection of judges once all states pass the bill,” he said.

Supreme Court Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, chancellor of the premier law university, was also present.

Recalling that the new judicial commission was in the making for over two decades, Prasad said the government would create a data bank of young performing lawyers to consider the best talent among them for appointment as judges in the apex court and high courts.

The law minister, who is also a lawyer, advocated an alternative dispute system for out-of-court settlements and reducing the backlog of cases.

“The alternative system has potential to reduce the burden of courts and ensure disposal of cases without resorting to litigation, as in other countries where only a few cases make it to the courts,” he said.

Noting that lawyers can find ways to mediate between litigants more often, Prasad said instead of running to the nearest court, they should consider how best they should focus on solving the issues at hand using principles of values learnt in law schools.


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