New Delhi,April 19:Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister said that the strength of judges of Himachal Pradesh High Court has been increased from present nine to eleven judges. He was addressing the Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices at New Delhi today.Prof Dhumal said that State Government has placed requisition of filling up of 15 posts of civil judges (junior division) with Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission and added that Commission has started the process of conducting examination and selection of the candidates for filling up the vacant posts. He said that at present 108 subordinate courts are working in the State and six new courts of civil judges (junior division) have been created in the State during last two years for speedy disposal of pending cases.Chief Minister said that Government has taken various steps to augument and upgrade the infrastructure in the courts and added that Himachal Pradesh High Court has been fully computerized and matter has been taken up with the Ministry of Home Affairs and e-committee of Supreme Court for computerization of district and subordinate courts in the State. He said that Rs. 25 crore was spent on construction of court complexes and residential houses of judicial officers in the State during last financial year. He said that State Government would set up video conferencing facility in four subordinate courts and four jails in the State for speedy disposal of court cases.
Prof Dhumal said that Government has set up Himachal Pradesh State Judicial Academy to strengthen the judicial administration by providing judicial education and training to judicial officers at the time of induction in the service. He told that Academy is also imparting training to prosecutors and court staff by conducting refresher courses on various issues. He said that State Government has delegated the power of appropriation and re appropriation of funds to the Chief Justice of High Court within sanctioned budget for judiciary to grant financial autonomy to the High Court.
Chief Minister said that three permanent Lok Adalats have been set up in the State to provide affordable, cost effective and accessible justice to the poor and needy persons and added that 100 legal literacy camps and 291 Lok Adalats have been held in the State during last financial year. He said that Government has used the mechanism of alternative dispute redressal to lessen the burden of courts and added that High Court of Himachal Pradesh Civil Procedure Alternative Dispute and Resolution and Mediation Rules have been framed and enforced in the State in the year 2005 and stressed the need to provide professional training to the mediators and conciliators for acquiring expertise in the art of mediation and conciliation.
Chief Minister said that quasi-federal structure of Constitution has become more and more centralized due to substitution of subjects from State List to the Concurrent List and by judicial intervention and amendments of the laws. He said that according to Forest Survey of India, forest cover of the State in 2001 recorded a cumulative increase of 1839 sq km over the forest cover of 1997. He said that poor farmers have been put in most disadvantageous position due to non-allotement of timber to them for their bonafide personal use due to complete ban on felling of green trees in the State.