Sunday, October 4, 2009

Will judge -- but please increase my salary

This news story is positive yet displays a nagging Indian characteristic about decision making -- we know something is a problem, we know something is to be done to fix it, and then we just keep talking about it over and over again for several years till a real crisis emerges.

Read the news story below with highlights and my comments as Citizens' Comments:

NEW DELHI: Over 30 lakh cheque bouncing cases are clogging the wheels of justice which have already been slowed down by the weight of 2.7 crore cases pending in the trial courts, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

A solution is difficult to find, said a Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal and G S Singhvi. "It is easy to point fingers at the apparent slow pace of justice, but are there enough judges? It's difficult to select even 20 good judges from a total of 3,000 applicants," said Justice Singhvi citing his experience as a member of the selection panel.

Citizens' Comments: Ok. Now we have some handle on the problem. 20 judges selected out of 3000 applicants; the selection ratio according to this will be 1 in 150... if my memory serves me right this is about as tough or tougher than competition to get into prestigious management institutes like IIM. But wait a second, SC judge does not say there are only 20 jobs but only 20 candidates qualify to become judge.

"Will those who point fingers at judiciary care to find out the financial implications of recruiting more number of judges and the willingness of the states to invest more in judiciary," the Bench asked. It said the competent among the lawyers were refusing to become judges.

Citizens' Comments: Now we can't be sure if India is shining for the rich only, or for aam aadmi also; but it seems that no aam aadmi or rich person wants to become a judge. So what is the remedy -- increase salary of judges! If young people do not mind to take up jobs working night shifts in a call centre, what then holds them back from trying to have a job and respectable profession of a judge? A country (ok a city really) like Singapore pays high salaries to judges and high bureaucrats, that is one way to ensure that the competent people do not feel left behind and get tempted into corruption.

Here is another news story with some details on actual salaries of judges of the supreme court. Remember that these salaries levels are after the 3 fold increase which happened few months earlier.

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