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August 2009

August 2009

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Published by Abhijit Jadhav

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Published by: Abhijit Jadhav on Sep 23, 2009
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Revised Maritime Policy 
Just six months after the Indian Navy was given charge of the country’s entire
coastal security, it announced a revised maritime policy on August 28, 2009. TheNavy will now have an even sharper focus on the neighbourhood of the country.This means securing the trade routes in the Indian Ocean region; extending thereach of the Navy to project India as a major force and also preventing Mumbai-style sea-borne invasions by terrorists.The 2009 edition of the Indian Maritime doctrine was released by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Suresh Mehta. The original doctrine was published in 2004to provide a common understanding of universally applicable maritime concepts,not only for the forces but also for the public at large. This revision was neededon account of the rapidly changing geo-strategic environment andtransformational changes in the maritime domain.The earlier doctrine was more generic in nature; this one will provide a sharper
focus. The Indian Navy’s role in the Indian Ocean has changed in the pa
st 12months. It has been sent out to patrol the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden area toensure safety of international sea trade routes. Indian sailors have successfullyfoiled at least five bids by pirates to take over ships and brought down instances
of pirates using choppers stationed on the ships. After the Mumbai attacks inNovember 2008, the government handed over the entire command and controlof the coast to the Indian Navy that has been installing high-tech sensors alongthe coast. In coordination with the coast guard, it is also buying fast-attack craftsfor shallow waters.
PM for war on judicial backlog
Promising the judicial system that his government would “match each step of the judiciary with two of our own”, Prime Minister Manmohan S
ingh has asked the
Supreme Court to play a “vital role” in the “war on arrears” of cases and wiping“every tear of every waiting litigant”.
 Addressing the day-long Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices,he, however, made it clear that increasing the court strength to improve the low judge-population ratio would depend on High Courts filling all 3,000 existingvacancies in the lower judiciary.
Describing the executive and the judiciary as “two vital wheels of the chariot of 
good governance
”, Mr Singh said India suffered from “the scourge of the world’s
largest backlog of cases and time-lines that generated surprise globally andconcern at home. The expeditious elimination of this scourge was the biggestchallenge for such conferences and should constitute the highest priority for all of 
us”. Over 30 million cases are pending in various courts across the country.
Calling for an “arrears
free judicial institution”, he expressed concern over under
-trials languishing in jails for unduly long pe
riods. “Many such under
-trials havebeen in jails for periods longer than they would have served had they been
sentenced. This is indeed very disturbing,” he said.
 The road map for judicial reforms, suggested by President Pratibha Patil in heraddress to the joint session of Parliament in June 2009, was under preparationand national-level consultation with jurists and stakeholders in that regard wouldbe held very shortly, Prime Minister said.Further, there was need for comprehensive computerisation and ultimate linking
of all courts in the country into one “mega judicial information grid” for screeningall pending cases and disposal of “many old cases as moot or infructuous”.
 In his address, Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan said there had been a
“chronic shortage” of judicial officers, especially at the subordinate level. Therewere also some “structural obstacles that discouraged talented law graduates”
from joining judicial services. However, he did not elaborate on the issue. Citing aLaw Commission report, he said the judicial system had to be expanded at leastfive-fold in order to match the judge- population ratio of developed countries.

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