Sirisena’s government also suspended the Chinese port project championed by his predecessor, strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had a heavy pro-China leaning. At the time, Sirisena’s government said there was a lack of proper study on the environmental impact of building a city _ with a golf course, marinas, apartments and shopping malls _ on an artificial island just outside the port of Colombo. Chinese President Xi Jinping had launched the project during a visit to the island in 2013. Sri Lanka’s decision to restart the project was seen a way of reassuring China while simultaneously growing closer to India. Sri Lanka is also likely to court more Chinese investment to resuscitate an ailing economy burdened by heavy debt. Sri Lankan officials have said changes were made to the original plan to minimise environmental impact, but have not made that assessment public. They also scrapped a controversial plan to give outright land ownership to China, saying they would instead offer the land on a 99-year lease.


With an astounding three crore plus case pendency staring him in the face, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Thursday issued a notice to the Centre on a PIL which sought immediate directions to double the number of judges in the country as recommended by the Law Commission in its 245th report. It is to be noted that a fortnight after his impassioned appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over shortage of judges at the state Chief Justices and Chief Ministers conference, the Chief Justice had on May 9 said courts in the country now require more than 70,000 judges to clear the pending cases. "While we (judiciary) remain keen to ensure that judges' appointments are made quickly, the machinery involved with the appointment of judges continues to grind very slowly. The confidence of people on the judiciary has, over the years, multiplied. Over three crore cases are pending in various courts across the country," he had said. The petitioner, a Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay said in his plea: "Judicial reform is not only necessary to secure fundamental right of fair trial and speedy justice to every citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution but also essential to control the prevailing corruption, crime, casteism and communalism." "The Union government and State Governments had agreed to double the number of judges in Chief Justices and Chief Ministers conference 2013," it said. Upadhyay also pleaded for expediting the long pending judicial reform as recommended by the Law Commission in its various reports since 1986. Law Commission submitted its 245th Report to the Union Government on 07-07-2014 on the topic of 'Arrears and Backlog: Creating Additional Judicial Manpower' and recommended to double the number of judges necessary to ensure fair trial and speedy justice to the citizens. This is essential to secure the fundamental right of fair trial and speedy justice to the citizens. On April 24, the Chief Justice, known to be stronghearted, broke down several times in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a national judicial conference. The emotional chief justice of India was in fact launching an unprecedented blistering attack on the present and earlier governments for often blaming the judiciary for mounting backlog of cases, which touched an alarming 3.14 crore, but at the same time doing nothing to improve the judge: population ratio and increasing the number of courts despite repeated pleas from the judiciary. The ratio at present is 10 judges for 1 million people while the Law Commission had way back in 1987 recommended increasing it to 40. While India had just 7,675 judges, the actual requirement of judges in the country today was 40,377.

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