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Make judiciary an essential service: Sibal

Law Crime

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday urged the judiciary to declare a plan to ensure that justice delivery system is made an essential service, noting that people were facing hardships due to restricted functioning of courts during the coronavirus lockdown.

He said the government cannot take such a decision as the judiciary is independent.

"I want to urge the judiciary to take a decision on this," Sibal said while demanding that justice delivery system be made an essential service.

The Congress leader, who was addressing an online press conference, said people do not know where to go to seek justice during the lockdown.

"I want to ask the judiciary whether judicial service is an essential service in this country. If food, water and electricity are essential service, is the justice delivery system not essential," Sibal, who is also an eminent lawyer, said.

"This is very important, because every day somebody or the other needs the judge in an emergent manner to decide his case," he said, noting that there is no policy framework at district level to Supreme Court level to deal with such circumstances.

"I don't see any policy framework of policy statement by the judiciary, that being an essential service we have a plan to ensure that people, who need urgent relief, get it," he said, adding that just as the other services like water, electricity and food are essential services, the justice delivery system is also an essential service.

When asked about a senior journalist's petition being heard by the Supreme Court, Sibal said "This is not something that I can explain. This is something which is the prerogative of the Chief Justice of India, but this fact is true that some matters are listed overnight, some matters are never listed and there must be some rationale behind it which we don't know."

Sibal also highlighted that when a habeas corpus petition was being filed, it was not heard for two weeks, but wondered how some people can get a hearing overnight.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sat, April 25 2020. 21:40 IST