As reported by UNI in on 24 April 2008:

200 special courts may be needed for corruption cases : CJI

India's Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan says he hopes some 200 special courts will be set up to try corruption cases pending in trial courts.

"I hope they will," Justice Balakrishnan said when asked last night whether steps were being taken to set up special courts Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke of last week.

Replying to UNI as he emerged after a lecture by former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachaliah commemorating India's third Home Minister Kailash Nath Katju, Justice Balakrishnan said about 200 such courts were needed to try the pending corruption cases.

A count at the end of 2007 showed at least 24,130 cases under Prevention of Corruption Act pending in trial courts across India.

Opening a joint conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices on Saturday, Dr Singh mentioned a suggestion made by the CJI, "that we create special courts to deal with corruption cases." "I agree that there is urgent need to do so," Prime Minister Singh said, adding it "will instill greater confidence in our justice delivery system, at home and abroad." The Chief Justices from around the country came to the joint conference after having passed a resolution for appointment of Special Judges under Prevention of Corruption Act to deal "primarily" with corruption cases.

The resolution stressed conducting such trials "as far as possible... on a day-to-day basis." One law expert, Prof S C Raina of Delhi University, estimated that 200 special courts could dispose of a 24,130 case pendency in three to four years.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Justice Balakrishnan said Judges should be a model to the society.

The Chief Justice of India, who once held Judges ought not have to declare assets compulsorily, told audience that judges have declared their assets to him voluntarily.

The Lecture was attended by several former CJIs, Judges and lawyers, including Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, and former Law Ministers Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani.

Presumably alluding to oft-repeated notion about Judiciary second-guessing government, Justice Balakrishnan gave an example of dismal delivery mechanisms helpless citizens have to contend with.

He cited the case of mid-day meals a many States once opposed, causing high rates of drop-outs at schools-- until the Supreme Court ordered that all children be served cooked meals.

Justice Venkatachaliah spoke drawing on his prepared lecture on Constitutional Underpinnings of a Concordial Society. Organisers said the text would be released later.

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