1. CJI Ramana launches software to transmit court orders swiftly
On 31st March 2022, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana launched the Fast and Secure Transmission of Electronic Records (FASTER) software which would communicate bail orders with the digital signatures of the Supreme Court officers and this ensures privacy, safety, and security. Earlier in July 2021, a bench headed by the CJI had taken suo moto cognizance of the delayed release of convicts lodged in the Agra central jail even three days after the court had granted them bail. The court then directed the SC Secretary-General to submit a proposal suggesting the modalities to implement the FASTER system. Accordingly, the Secretary-General, in consultation with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave presented a report outlining the scheme and rules governing the implementation of such a scheme.
The CJI explained 73 nodal officers have been nominated at the High Court level to oversee the process in the first phase. A judicial communication network and 1887 secure pathway email IDs have been established. Communications will be restricted to these channels only. The CJI along with other Supreme Court judges will look into the transmission of such records in the physical mode in the second phase.
2. Law minister on Judiciary Infrastructure of India
The Ministry of Law and Justice recently informed the Lok Sabha that against 405 vacancies in High Courts, 175 proposals are at various stages of processing between the Government and the Supreme Court Collegium. It was also informed that recommendations from High Court Collegiums are yet to be received in respect of 230 vacancies. It was also stated that on 14 March 2022, against the sanctioned strength of 1104 judges in the High Court, 699 are in position, leaving 405 vacancies of judges to be filled.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju mentioned that the sanctioned strength of judges of High Courts has increased from 906 in 2014 to 1104 in 2022. He also added that a proposal has been received from the Chief Justice of India for setting up the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India for arranging the adequate infrastructure of courts, as per which there will be a governing body with CJI as Patron-in-Chief.
3. Chile President signs landmark UN Environmental Treaty
Recently it was announced by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs that President Gabriel Boric has signed the UN Escazu Agreement. The Escazu Treaty is an environmental treaty signed by 24 Latin American and Caribbean nations and is the first such treaty emerging from that region. The Treaty aims to achieve “ access to environmental information, public participation in the environmental decision-making process, and access to justice in environmental dispute matters.
In the 2012 UN Conference of Sustainable Development in Brazil, the treaty was negotiated and is the first in the world to include provisions on the rights of defenders of the environment. The treaty was adopted on March 4th, 2018, and came into force on April 22nd, 2021. Chile has now become the 25th signatory member and the 12th ratifying member State from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
4. Supreme Court stayed Delhi HC order on feeding stray dogs
The Supreme Court in March 2022, issued notice to the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and others on a petition challenging the Delhi High Court order relating to the feeding of stray dogs and also stayed the same. A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to AWBI to stay the operation of the Delhi High Court order dated 24 June 2021 that dealt with directions on the feeding of stray dogs.
According to the petitioner Humane Foundation for People and Animals, the Delhi High Court had passed the guidelines regarding feeding stray dogs with reference to The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, despite there being an order passed by the Supreme Court on 2015, directing High Courts not to pass any order relating to the 1960 Act and the 2001 Rules pertaining to dogs. The Delhi High Court had asked AWBI to carry out an awareness campaign as it is the duty and obligation of every Resident Welfare Associations or Municipal Corporation to ensure that every community dog in every area has access to food and water in the absence of caregivers or community dog feeders in the said area.