New Delhi: Judicial proceedings need to be streamlined to reduce the backlog in Indian courts, says President of International Court of Justice Peter Tomka.
He feels India also has an important role to play in international arbitration arena by cooperating closely with the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The top jurist said that judicial proceedings in India need to be streamlined to reduce the backlog as this not only takes a toll on individuals but also on the system.
“Judicial proceedings (in India) need to be streamlined.
Measures should be taken to enhance the efficiency of judicial system but these measures depend on national particularities,” Tomka told PTI on the sidelines of an event here. He was asked about the ways to reduce the huge pendency of cases here.
“India certainly can play more active role in the field of International arbitration and one of the ways to improve the standing is to cooperate closely with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague which has agreement and cooperation with several countries,” he said.
According to him, by working and cooperating closely with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at Hague, which has agreement with several countries, “India can improve its standing worldwide”.
Tomka, who was among the seven arbitrators in the Indus Waters Kishenganga arbitration case between India and Pakistan in 2013, and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration since 1994, said all recent steps taken here and aimed at accelerating the arbitration proceedings and managing the process need to be welcomed.
“Certainly arbitration is being perceived and conceived as an efficient way of settling the disputes provided the parties are agreed to arbitration and all steps which aim at accelerating the arbitration proceedings and managing the process needs to be welcomed,” he said.
He was responding to the recent amendments brought in by the Indian government in Arbitration and Conciliation Act with one making it mandatory for a judge presiding over commercial disputes to settle cases within nine months and the other putting a cap on arbitrator's fee.
Lauding India's role in strengthening the international institutions including the ICJ, Tomka said that it was among the first few Asian countries which has been recognising its jurisdiction since its inception.
“India has been recognising its jurisdiction for almost 70 years and has been party in several cases in the past. ICJ has benefited a lot from the presence of distinguished Indian international law lawyers and judges.
“Since its inception in 1945, we have four Indian judges and ICJ has benefited a lot from their judicial philosophies and knowledge of International law. But the fact which is to be commended the most is India has been among the few Asian countries which are subject to the jurisdiction of the ICJ through a declaration,” he said.
Currently, former Supreme Court judge Dalveer Bhandari is one of the 15 judges at the ICJ.