UT News Service | Shillong, Aug 12: A plaque to mark the separation of the Judiciary from the Executive was unveiled along with the inauguration of the court of the District and Sessions Judge in Khliehriat by the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, Justice Biswanath Somadder today, in the presence of Justice H S Thangkhiew and Justice W Diengdoh, Law Minister, James P. K. Sangma and Social Welfare Minister, Kyrmen Shylla.
Addressing the occasion, Justice Somadder said that the judiciary is separated from the executive in order to make justice more accessible to the people, while also stating that the judiciary is an institution which steps in whenever there is a dispute – particularly concerning interpretation of the law laid down by either the parliament or the state legislature.
The Chief Justice (CJ) also spoke of the relationship between the executive, legislature and judiciary and stated that there is a need for separation of these three institutions, so that none of them can cause havoc to the people in a democratic setup and to avoid conflict of interest, as they each have their own functions and roles, while also working in tandem in order to maintain a delicate balance. “Article 50 of the Indian Constitution mandates that we must have this separation of the judiciary from the executive”, he said while adding, “The segregation of the executive from the judiciary will bring about access to justice and will benefit the people of the district”.
The Chief Justice said that the district has now reached a milestone, whereby people can get access to justice with the segregation that allows only Judicial Officers to take up those matters of dispute, which were earlier taken up by the officers of the executive, that is, the District Administration. Justice Somadder informed that the District Legal Services Authority will now step in and reach out to the block level to find out whether the people are getting access to justice and more importantly, access to quality justice. He also called upon the headmen and the people of the district to render full cooperation to the State Legal Services Authority or the District Legal Service Authority, whose task is to ensure that each person residing in the district gets access to this set up without any hindrance.
Law Minister, James Sangma meanwhile termed this as a red letter day for the people of district and the state as a whole even as he congratulated all those involved in making the event a success. He also informed that East Jaintia Hills district is the ninth district in the state where the judiciary has been separated from the executive.
Sangma expressed his gratitude to the Deputy Commissioner, F M Dopth and the officers for having given their best in the delivery of justice in the past, in spite of being burdened with various other responsibilities. “The perception of the judiciary in the eyes of the ordinary citizens is shaped by the working of the District Judiciary and perhaps that is the point from where the faith in the delivery of justice begins,” Sangma said while also stating that an effective, efficient and modern system for justice administration at the district level is the pillar of judicial legitimacy and is essential for sustaining people’s faith in the legal system.
During the programme, the Commissioner and Secretary in-charge of the Law Department, W. Khyllep read out the notification for separation of the Judiciary from the Executive in the district.
Others who also spoke during the programme include Kyrmen Shylla, F M Dopth and Advocate, R. War.