Law minister wants to meet judges, secy says HC nod needed

Days after assuming office, Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs Minister Somnath Bharti has sought a meeting of all district judges in Delhi. The move has been met with consternation within his department with the Principal Secretary (Law), A S Yadav, even writing to the Delhi High Court about it.

When contacted, Yadav who is a district and sessions judge on deputation to the Delhi government for at least 18 months said he had written to the Delhi HC recently.

"The Minister wanted to meet all the district judges who fall under the administrative jurisdiction of the High Court. I have never in my vast experience heard of a minister wanting to meet all district judges," Yadav told Newsline.

According to Yadav, such meetings were not possible without permission from the HC. "The Law department in Delhi has little control over judges, administered by the Delhi HC," he said.

Sources in the Delhi government said the Law department had also expressed its consternation over Bharti's recent requests. A senior official said, "Most senior officials in the law department fall under the administration of the Delhi HC and are only on deputation to the government."

Meanwhile, Bharti confirmed that he had sought a meeting with all district judges in Delhi.

"We have a two-fold purpose in the Delhi government to deliver justice to the poorest of the poor and to make justice equitable and affordable to all. In my effort to achieve this, I am meeting everybody connected to the system," Bharti said. He also expressed his desire to ensure every penny spent on the department is accounted for.

According to Bharti, the Principal Secretary (Law) had told him that a meeting with judges would require the HC's permission. "This is a normal official communication with the HC. The secretary has said the HC has to allow it. Though I do not concur, it is best to do such things officially," Bharti said.

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