Letters to the Editor: Why India's vaccine certificate can be an embarrassment
Sir — A woman and her family were recently stopped at the Frankfurt airport by authorities who were confused by their vaccination certificates. The airport officials could not match the face on the certificates with their bearers and accused the family of fraud. The travellers had to then explain that the photo on the certificate was that of the Indian prime minister, much to the amusement of authorities. The photo and the message are meant to encourage people to get vaccinated. The question is, why do fully vaccinated people need such encouragement on a personal document?
Sir — The list of cases pending before the courts in India is significant. The problem is especially acute in the lower courts, which is where most people flock to in times of trouble (“In place”, Aug 20). But this backlog is hardly surprising given the number of posts that are lying vacant in the high courts and in various tribunals. What makes the situation much worse is that the law ministry has a paltry allowance in the budget. Is it any wonder that India has one of the world’s lowest ratios of judges to population in the world? Justice delayed is justice denied. It is perplexing that the government is not speeding up the procedure of appointment of judges and tribunal heads.
The authorities concerned and the Supreme Court should explore the idea of having additional benches of the apex court in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Just as tribunals have regional benches in large states, the Supreme Court, too, should have additional benches to meet the needs of people across the length and breadth of the country. Experienced and talented advocates may not always wish to practice in the Supreme Court as they may not want to shift to Delhi. This is a loss to the country’s judiciary. Local benches of the Supreme Court will redress this issue and offer a level playing field to all talented advocates. The high court bar associations are absolutely correct.
Sir — The editorial, “In place”, rightly pointed out that the lack of adequate numbers of judges is a matter of great concern. The number of unresolved litigations is a problem for both the State as well as citizens. But the government cannot be the only one to blame for this situation. The collegium for nominating judges must be held responsible too.
In the United States of America, Supreme Court judges are nominated by the president and then this nomination is confirmed by the Senate. Although this leaves the judiciary vulnerable to the executive, the collegium system that is prevalent in India needs to evolve with the times too. It is unfortunate that even after seven decades of independence, India has not been able to deliver speedy justice to its citizens. To overcome this problem the legislature and the judiciary must work together to fill the gaps in India’s justice delivery system.
Sir — It is disheartening that the Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, is allegedly “extremely upset” about speculation in the media surrounding the collegium’s recommendation of nine new judges. People have the right to know what the collegium is thinking. It is also unfortunate that high court lawyers have taken an exception to practising lawyers from the Supreme Court being appointed as high court judges.
Matters relating to the functioning of the courts should be considered more important than anything else. The need of the hour is to fill the vacancies at all levels of the judiciary. This is the only way to reduce the huge backlog of cases — some of them pending for decades now — in the Indian courts. This is not to blame the judiciary for the delay, but swift action must be taken if Indians are to have any hope of getting justice.
K. Nehru Patnaik,
Sir — Vacancies in the courts help wrongdoers get away with injustices. This must be remedied at once.