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Courts need infrastructure, automation and aesthetics: CJ

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Jammu Dec 2: Chief Justice, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice Gita Mittal Sunday called for professional management of judicial institutions with regard to infrastructure, automation and aesthetics, saying the personnel deployed for the purpose have to be well equipped with necessary training on periodical basis.

She said the training should focus on generating adequate know how to the Court Managers so that they understand the domain of courts and formulate responses accordingly.

“Court Managers have a crucial role to ensure congenial atmosphere in courts and an environment where in judicial officers are able to concentrate on work for dispensing justice,” Justice Mittal said at the valedictory function of two-day Regional Conference on Enhancing Excellence in Judicial Institutions: Challenges and Opportunities here this afternoon.

The Chief Justice said that a mechanism will have to be evolved to examine the need for Court Managers for the subordinate judicial institutions as well to ensure appropriate environment for both the judicial officers and the litigant public. She said healthy and conducive environment is imperative for improving the work culture.

“At the same time the Court Managers should focus on aesthetics like landscaping and provision of basic amenities especially health and hygiene”, she said adding that neat and clean environs leave a positive impact on the working. She also stressed the need for sensitizing the community on healthy environment and generating awareness in this regard.

The Chief Justice also emphasized the need for pro-active interaction between higher and subordinate judiciary and said the District Courts have onerous responsibility on this count.

Justice Mittal said judicial officers were natural leaders to discuss and debate various issues unlike other departments which are not empowered to take decisions. Therefore, she said, the judges should see beyond the courts and explore wider horizons. She said judicial officers have to be role models with high degree of intellect, honesty and integrity. She laid stress on adopting positive attitude for dispensing justice. She urged the young judicial officers to take some time out of their busy schedule and concentrate on meditation, which is important for mental and intellectual growth.

“A happy and healthy judge can deliver healthy judgments”, she opined.

Justice G Raghuram, Director National Judicial Academy, while elaborating on several challenges and numerous demands in the world of Judiciary, emphasized continuous promotion of quality legal education and appropriate funding for ensuring a good working environment to the Judicial Officers and staff.

“ICT has to be integral part of Judicial system to extend prompt and unprejudiced justice to the litigants”, he maintained.

Expressing optimism that this regional conference would certainly add to the skills and knowledge of the participating Judges for enhanced deliverance of Justice, Justice Raghuram appreciated the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and State Judicial Academy for their commendable performance despite numerous challenges and odds besides topographical difficulties in the state.

Justice Sunil Ambwani, Former Chief Justice Rajasthan High Court, while addressing the session on Court Management and Information and Communication Technology in Courts, dwelt in detail on E-Committee and E-Courts projects in India besides highlighting broader contours of Court and Case Management.

Justice Ambwani elaborated on several innovative ways to further streamline working of Courts and emphasized the need for a comprehensive and firm policy on equipping these Judicial institutions with technologically advanced infrastructural edifice and manpower. “This is pre-requisite to tackle various issues of infrastructure and management in Courts”, he asserted.   He said that adherence to Customs and Traditions in Courts are as significant as the Court rules. He emphasized the need to regulate the role and functions of Bar Associations which occupies a significant place in the system of justice dispensation.

Justice Rajesh Bindal Judge J&K High Court, while addressing the concluding ceremony of the conference, described disposal of court cases as most significant part of the Judiciary which needs to be expedited for speedy and impartial justice to the litigants. He stressed upon further enhancing court management skills to deal effectively with frivolous litigations besides emphasizing prioritization of litigation disposal on the basis of urgency.

“The improvement in working environment has a direct impact on the quality and quantity of justice dispensation so it must be focused upon at all levels”, Justice Bindal maintained while laying focus on use of all technology and innovations in this regard.

Earlier Justice Rajesh Bindal, through an impressive power point presentation gave an overview of the e-Courts Project. He explained as to how the facility of video conferencing in hearing remand application and trail through VC can prove to be boon in expeditious disposal of cases. Justice Bindal stressed upon the Judicial Officers to make maximum use of ICT while discharging their judicial functions. He further stated that despite topographic difficulties and issues of connectivity, the Courts of the J&K have been able to excel in use of ICT in courts.

On the occasion, Justice Sachdeva also presented an informative Power Point Presentation on ICT in Courts highlighting the need and importance of making optimum use of technological innovations in Courts. He elucidated issues like transformation of Courts through e-systems, technical empowerment of judges, digitization of old records, Metadata, use of electronic devices, improving connectivity in courts etc.

Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta, Judges High Court of Jammu and Kashmir also graced the occasion.  The Conference was attended by Judges of the High Courts of various states including Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Uttrakhand, Allahabad, Dehli, and Punjab and Haryana. Judicial Officers from seven participating states were also present on the occasion.


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SHRC discusses drug abuse in seminar on human rights

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Drug abuse and not human rights was the talking point of a seminar organised by Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (JKSHRC) on Monday to mark the 70th World Human Rights Day.

At the Auditorium Hall of the Information Department, the speakers choose to discuss drug abuse at length even as Chairperson JKSHRC Retired Chief Justice Bilal Ahmad Nazki said: “One of our jobs is to make the people feel the pain of the ill effects of our society.”

As per Nazki, during the current year, more than 10,000 people visited SMHS hospital and Police Drug De-Addiction and Rehabilitation to get treatment for their drug addiction.

“That is the reason, we choose Drug Abuse topic on today’s Human Rights Day,” said Nazki.

Recalling some of his recent experiences about drug prevalence of addiction in the society, Nazki said, “One of the boys told me that he had stolen all ornaments of his mother and sister to purchase drugs. Another person spent Rs 75 lakh on the drugs.”

The Chairperson JKHRC said, “We discuss all sort of issues in our casual chats or during marriage ceremonies, but we never discuss drug abuse. My target is to create a debate on the topic. I want to create a sense of pain in society and treatment will come easily. Today, synthetic drugs are supplied from somewhere else which is more dangerous than cannabis. If we cut the supply line, we will be able to solve the problem to a great extent. Solutions have to find out within our social set-up.”

Nazki said that need is to create mass awareness across the state about drug-abuse so that it can be completely eradicated.

On the occasion, the organizers distributed informative material, which read that as per the survey conducted by United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), there are 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir alone, out of which 4000 are women.

As per the survey, 65 to 70% of students in Kashmir are drug addicts.

As per the statistics issued by Government Psychiatric disease hospital, Rainawari, 90% drug users are in the age group of 17 to 35 years with a lifetime prevalence of drug addiction.

The informative material read that in his study leading Psychiatrist Dr Mushtaq Margoob has found, “More than two lakh people in Kashmir are into the consumption of illegal drugs.

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Omar challenges BJP to announce CM candidate

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Dec 10: Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “deceiving” the people of Jammu, senior National Conference Vice-President, Omar Abdullah, on Monday challenged the party to announce its chief ministerial candidate.

The BJP made fake promises to the people of Jammu prior to the last elections. They made fake promises on PaK refugees, return of Kashmiri pandits to valley, granting union territory to Ladakh, construction of Ram Mandir, and Jammu’s own leadership,” Omar said in his address to National Conference (NC) workers.

He said the party later allied PDP.

“They made Mufti Mohammad Saeed chief minister of the state. Recently, they offered chief ministerial post to a leader who has just two MLAs. The BJP will again make promises that the next chief minister will be from the BJP but they will prove to be hoax once the polls are over,” Omar, former chief minister of the state, said.

He was referring to Peoples Conference led by Sajad Gani Lone, who had staked claim to form a government in the state with the support of the 25-legislators of BJP and 18 others.

“The BJP is now advocating divisional status for Ladakh, while it could not grant it union territory status. We want unification of all three regions for communal harmony.”

He challenged the BJP to announce its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections.

“The BJP has already cheated the people of Jammu twice. The party shall tell the people who its chief ministerial candidate is,” he said, demanding the parliamentary and assembly elections should be held together.

“The BJP wanted urban local bodies and panchayat polls to be held in the state but are not ready for Assembly polls,” he said.

“I don’t think people of Jammu and Kashmir are ready to be deceived once again, which is why the BJP is escaping elections.”

The NC leader said his party backed PDP in government formation to save the state from its “current mess and uncertainty”.

“We wanted to defend Article 35A, this government was not going to sustain for long as it had to topple one day and elections had to be done,” he said.

“The NC-PDP-Congress came together despite differences, as we are not hungry for power but worried about the wellbeing of the state and its people. We did it for the state but not for the interest of party.” he said.

“The ruling party was threatening MLAs and using money to lure them for the support.”

He, however, ruled out their pre-poll alliance with any party.

“We will contest on all the seats. You give us the representatives who can contest the polls,” he said.

“There are some seats where the NC has never won. We are sure that we will win those seats which we lost in the previous elections,” he said.

He said the BJP leader, who accused NC of boycotting local body polls and joining hands with PDP and Congress on Pakistan’s behest, later “withdrew his words”.

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Baig anointed PDP patron amidst political departures

Former Tangmarg lawmaker quits PDP

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Srinagar, Dec 10: The attempts of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti to mollify disgruntled Lok Sabha member of the party Muzaffar Hussain Baig bore fruit on Monday as the two leaders jointly chaired a meeting where the latter was made party’s patron.

“Senior leaders of the party today (Monday) met under the chairmanship of party President @MehboobaMufti and Muzzafar Hussain Beigh Sahab,” the PDP said on its Twitter handle soon after the meeting.

Sources close to the party that Baig was chosen as the party patron, in a bid to resolve the issues he had with the party leadership in the recent past.

They said that Mehbooba, who was facing a challenge to her leadership after Baig recently raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership, was trying to make a pact with the senior party leadership.

Baig had accused the party leadership of undermining the democratic norms by boycotting the urban local bodies and panchayat elections.

The development comes amidst rebellion in the PDP with three former MLAs having quit and rumours of many more leaders likely to desert the party ahead of the fresh assembly elections.

The polls have been necessitated due to dissolution of the lower house of the state legislature by Governor Satya pal Malik on November 21.

Besides Imran Ansari and his uncle Abid Ansari, former finance minister Haseeb Drabu have resigned from the PDP following the dissolution of the assembly.

Speculations were rife that Baig, whose wife Safina Baig is the president of women’s wing of the PDP, might quit the party as he came out in public against the party leadership on November 20.

“The PDP betrayed the workers, denying them a chance to connect with the people, by boycotting the (municipal) elections. They left a vacuum and that space has now been occupied. Politics does not wait for people who boycott,” Baig said last month.

Baig said he was not consulted when the party took the decision to boycott the local bodies polls.

“I was in Delhi, just a phone call away. I remained quiet because I did not want the PDP to fall as under,” he said.

Mehbooba had a meeting with Baig amidst uncofirmed reports that he would be made party patron.

 

Former Tangmarg lawmaker quits PDP

Srinagar, Dec 10: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got another jolt on Monday after its leader and former MLA Tangmarg, Abbas Wani resigned from the basic membership of the party.

This comes days after former finance minister Haseeb A Drabu and former MLA Zadibal, Abid Ansari resigned from the party.

Wani according to reports has tendered resignation from the basic membership of the party and has sent a letter to PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti.

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