| Meghalaya deputy chief minister Rowell Lyngdoh and chief minister Mukul Sangma at the inaugural programme at Williamnagar on Friday. Picture by Saidul Khan |
Tura, June 27: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today inaugurated the court of district and sessions judge at Williamnagar in the East Garo Hills.
He said Meghalaya would urge upon the Supreme Court to increase the strength of Shillong High Court, which has three judges.
He also laid the foundation for the court at the deputy commissioner’s office in Williamnagar.
Of the 11 districts in the state, East Garo Hills becomes the sixth district in the state and the second in Garo hills region, where the much-awaited separation of the judiciary from the executive has taken place.
In September 2011, the East Khasi Hills district experienced the imperative separation of powers between the two pillars of the government.
“The separation of the judiciary from the executive will create a conducive atmosphere and make the justice delivery system effective. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the provision, as enshrined in the Constitution of the country, is fulfilled,” said Sangma.
He said the court would ensure access to equal opportunities and justice and will facilitate expeditious administration of justice to the people.
While stressing the need to create awareness about the legal system among the people, Sangma said it was imperative for the government to sensitise the people and reach out to all the stakeholders.
He also dwelt on the need of making legal services affordable.
“There is a general perception that the legal system is time consuming and a costly affair, which is beyond the reach of common people. So it becomes imperative for the government to address the issue by way of supporting legal aid and building faith among the people,” he said, adding, “I appeal to the bar to make legal support more affordable to the common people.”
He also laid emphasis on creating an environment so that the government can support young minds for a career in law profession.
“There is a shortage of legal fraternity in the state. It is the government’s responsibility to support law colleges and students, so that they can pursue a productive career in serving the people,” said Sangma.
Meghalaya High Court Chief Justice Prafulla C. Pant said the separation of the judiciary from the executive is a step towards fulfilling the constitutional mandate and building confidence among the people.
He said this would facilitate the speedy delivery of justice without unnecessary delay in the process. Of the 11 districts in the state, at least two more districts are yet to have a fully functional separate court.
In 2003, Gauhati High Court and the Supreme Court had directed Meghalaya to initiate the process to separate the judiciary from the executive.