Thane: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday urged lawyers and politicians to start working towards improving their image in the society.
"In the past, members of the legal profession commanded a lot of respect. But that is not the case now. Lawyers as well as politicians need to improve their image," Pawar said while inaugurating a two-day Maharashtra State Lawyers` meet here.
He said that when he was the Chief Minister, he used to regularly hold meeting with the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, in which issues pertaining to the judges and judiciary in general, as well as the selection and appointment of High Court judges, used to be discussed at length.
He advised Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was also present on the occasion, to start holding similar meetings.
Expressing concern over the long pendency of cases, the NCP chief said,
"The financial powers of the trial and district courts need to be increased, so that the pendency of the high court will come down drastically. The (budgetary) limits set were of an old order and need to be changed," he said.
The government is putting in efforts to provide necessary facilities to the members of the judiciary, he added.
The Union Minister said that in the past there were many lawyers, who later became legislators. "Thanks to them, a healthy debate used to take place in the House, which is not the case anymore."
"However, in the Parliament there are still a number of eminent lawyers like Ram Jethmalani, Arun Jaitley and others," Pawar said.
In his speech, Chavan said in order to make the
democracy stronger, judiciary needs to be strengthened.
"The state government is undertaking all possible steps to make the judiciary stronger by providing better infrastructure to legal fraternity. The budgetary provisions for judiciary have been been increased this year," he said.
"Some of the measures that could be undertaken for the fast clearance of pendency of cases , morning courts, evening courts, holiday courts and special courts would be set up, especially in cases of crime against women," he added.
Chavan said that a number of judicial issues were discussed in detail in the recent meeting presided by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The idea of setting up All-India Judicial Service was also discussed in the meeting," Chavan said.
About the proposal to set up of a lawyers` training and legal institute, he said the government would consider the possibility of giving land for the purpose.
He made an appeal to the legal fraternity to give a helping hand to the drought-hit districts in the state. The Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa donated Rs 5 lakh towards drought relief.