Court Practices & Languages Alien To Traditional Societies; Justice System Needs To Be People Friendly : CJI NV Ramana

"The harsh reality is that the legal system fails to take consideration of the social realities and implications", CJI said.

Update: 2021-09-25 09:08 GMT

The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday reiterated his views regarding "Indianisation of the judiciary" and stressed the need to make the justice delivery system "people-friendly".Speaking at the inauguration of the new building of the Orissa state legal services authority in Cuttack, he said that the practices and languages of our courts are alien to the traditional...

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The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday reiterated his views regarding "Indianisation of the judiciary" and stressed the need to make the justice delivery system "people-friendly".

Speaking at the inauguration of the new building of the Orissa state legal services authority in Cuttack, he said that the practices and languages of our courts are alien to the traditional societies.

"Even after 74 years of independence, traditional and agrarian societies which are following customary ways of life still feel hesitant to approach the courts. The practices, procedures, language and everything of courts feel alien to them. Between the complex language of the bare-acts and the process of justice delivery, the common man seems to lose control over the fate of his grievance. Often, in this trajectory, a justice seeker feels like an outsider to the system. The harsh reality is that the legal system fails to take consideration of the social realities and implications", he said.

Notably, last week also, speaking at another function, the CJI had spoken about the need to "Indianize" the judicial system.

"The Legislature needs to revisit the laws and reform them to suit the needs of time and people. I emphasise, our laws must match with our practical realities. The executive has to match these efforts by way of simplifying the corresponding rules. Most importantly, the Executive and the Legislature should function in unison in realising the Constitutional aspirations", said CJ N. V. Ramana on Saturday.

"It is only then that the Judiciary would not be compelled to step in as a law-maker and would only be left with the duty of applying and interpreting the same. At the end of the day, it is the harmonious functioning of the three Organs of the State that can remove the procedural barriers to justice", continued the CJ.
The CJ reiterated that guarantee of equal justice forms the core belief of the framers of the Constitution and that our Constitutional aspirations shall never be achieved until the most vulnerable sections enforce their rights. He acknowledged that the challenges of accessing justice get magnified in states which pose significant hurdles like a regional and academic disparity, particularly in the state of Orissa where, as per the last census, around 83.3% of the people are living in the rural areas and who are often excluded from the formal justice delivery system. He expressed that the legal services authorities assume great importance in these areas.
He expressed that the Indian judicial system is faced with twin challenges- the first being the Indianisation of the justice delivery system-
"Even after 74 years of independence, traditional and agrarian societies which are following customary ways of life still feel hesitant to approach the courts. The practices, procedures, language and everything of courts feel alien to them. Between the complex language of the bare-acts and the process of justice delivery, the common man seems to lose control over the fate of his grievance. Often, in this trajectory, a justice seeker feels like an outsider to the system. The harsh reality is that the legal system fails to take consideration of the social realities and implications"
"Sadly, our system is designed in such a way that by the time all the facts and law are churned in the court of law, much gets lost in the process. People might be bringing their problems to the courts but what remains at the end of the day is just another case. These are the issues that I want to address through the Indianisation of the legal system. The general belief is that the courts are capable of addressing these concerns but the top priority is that unless the legal framework is drastically altered to make the justice delivery mechanism people friendly, we will not be able to achieve this goal. It is the general understanding of the people that it is the Court's responsibility to make laws. This notion has to be dispelled. The other organs of the State- the Executive and Legislature- assume significance here."
The legislature needs to revisit the laws and reform them to suit the needs of time and people. I emphasise, our laws must match with our practical realities. The Executive has to match its efforts by simplifying the corresponding rules. Most importantly, the legislature and executive should work in unison in realising the Constitutional aspirations".
"Generally, judiciary would not be compelled to step in as lawmaker and would only be left with duty of applying and interpreting the same. At the end of the day, it is the harmonious function of the three organs of the State which can remove the procedural barriers to justice", elaborated the CJ.
Moving on, the CJ mentioned the second challenge which is to enable the people to decode the justice delivery system by raising awareness:
"The concept of access to justice in India is more complicated than just simply providing lawyers for representation in the court. In India, the task of access to justice of the core and marginalised have been given to legal services institutions. Their activities include increasing legal awareness and legal literacy amongst such classes who have traditionally remained outside the purview of our system."
"The legal services authorities are dedicated to integrating and empowering the most vulnerable classes by providing them legal aid for the realization of their rights and entitlements. The legal services network reaches the persons residing in remote and far-flung areas to ensure the inclusion of such persons into the justice delivery system. We understand people need the amelioration of their issues and grievances. Be it a matter of compensation or eviction or a customary issue of marriage and inheritance, a common man needs a faster remedy. The legal services authorities have a great responsibility upon themselves to boost the ADR mechanisms such as Lok Adalat, mediations, and conciliations, so as to render justice, which is more inclusive, participatory, and definitely faster. Therefore, legal services have become an integral part of the judicial administration. Lack of proper infrastructure and funds result in a reduction of the activities carried out by these institutions. As a result, the number of beneficiaries who avail the services of these institutions reduces. Ultimately the goal of access to justice for all gets hampered. If we want to retain the faith of our people, we need to strengthen not only the judicial infrastructure but also need to boost our outreach programs as well. Considering the gravity of the challenge, we have decided to launch a country-wide robust legal awareness mission in the upcoming week. I expect your cooperation and support to take this effort into the remotest corner", explained the CJ.

"The power and strength of any justice-delivery system is derived from the faith of the people in it. The Bar and Bench need to work in conjunction to affirm the faith that a citizen has in the justice delivery system. We are mere custodians", he signed off


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