District Judiciary Should Not Be Called Subordinate Judiciary, SC Observes
In emphasising this point, the Court stated that the Courts collectively constitute a unified judicial system that serves the fundamental and essential purpose of administering justice
The Supreme Court's recent verdict regarding the increased salary structure for judicial officers, as outlined by the Second National Judicial Pay Commission (SNJPC), acknowledged the significance of the district judiciary. In doing so, the Supreme Court declared that it would cease to refer to the District Judiciary as the 'subordinate judiciary'.
The verdict was issued by a bench consisting of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice V Ramasubramanian, and PS Narasimha in the case of All India Judges Association vs Union of India and others.
It was observed that, "No longer should this Court refer to the District Judiciary as ‘subordinate judiciary. Not only is this a misnomer because the District Judge is not per se subordinate to any other person in the exercise of her jurisdiction but also is disrespectful to the constitutional position of a District Judge. Our Constitution recognizes and protects a District Judge as a vital cog in the judicial system. Respect ought to be accorded to this institution and its contribution to the country."
Additionally, the court emphasised that the fundamental role of both the District Court and the High Court is identical, which is to impartially and independently administer justice. In relation to this, the court drew attention to a section of its review order where it rejected a petition for review concerning its previous directive to implement the revised pay structure for judicial officers in accordance with the recommendations of the SNJPC.
In emphasising this point, the court stated that the Courts collectively constitute a unified judicial system that serves the fundamental and essential purpose of administering justice. To achieve true unity in both form and substance, there should be integration in terms of salary, pension, and other employment conditions between the District Judiciary, High Courts, and the Supreme Court.
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