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"There Cannot Be Instant Justice, But There Cannot Be Constant Delays Either": Vice President Naidu

Radhika Roy
8 Dec 2019 4:58 PM GMT
There Cannot Be Instant Justice, But There Cannot Be Constant Delays Either: Vice President Naidu
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"There cannot be instant justice, but there cannot be constant delays", said the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkiah Naidu at the Virendra Bhatia Memorial Lecture on Pillars of Democracy in New Delhi that took place on Sunday.. His remarks came a day after Chief Justice of India SA Bobde's comment on Hyderabad police encounter that justice can never be instant and loses its...

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"There cannot be instant justice, but there cannot be constant delays", said the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkiah Naidu at the Virendra Bhatia Memorial Lecture on Pillars of Democracy in New Delhi that took place on Sunday..

His remarks came a day after Chief Justice of India SA Bobde's comment on Hyderabad police encounter that justice can never be instant and loses its character when it becomes revenge.

Hinting at the recent shocking incidents of rape and murder in Hyderabad and Unnao, the Vice President stated that the crimes against women were a matter of great concern and the onus to prevent confidence in due process was on the judicial system. Fast track courts were needed as "speed and objectivity are the key ingredients of an efficient judicial system".

"We cannot afford to weaken our institutions either through inaction or dysfunctional dilution of standards. An efficient, transparent, accessible and affordable judicial system is a key touchstone of good governance. It can improve ease of business as well as ease of living. It instils confidence in the government.

We should prevent a dangerous downslide into anarchy and a path of unchecked exercise of authority. Sooner we set our house in order the better it is. We must revamp the system and revitalize it and enhance its responsiveness." 

The Vice President commenced his lecture with a comment on the democratic structure of the country and, its dependence on the complementary nature and the three pillars i.e. Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary. 
"Each of our three pillars need to be strong; strong in their professional competence, strong in their high ethical behavior and strong in their commitment to national development." 
He also remarked that there was a need for the pillars of democracy to function independent of each other, but to stay organically linked "through the cementing bond of national unity, integrity and prosperity." As a delicate balancing act, each pillar had to act within its domain, but not lose sight of the larger picture. 
LEGISLATURE
While the Vice President acknowledged that there was always room for improvement in the functioning of the Legislature, however they had largely been responsive to the needs of the people as many laws had been enacted and the Constitution had been amended 103 times for better governance. Despite the progress, he expressed dismay over the perception of the quality of the Parliamentary debates and how disruptions brimming with acrimony had a tendency of dominating the proceedings. 
EXECUTIVE
He also commended the need for an effective pillar of the Executive in a democracy and the important role that people played in the enforcement of laws formulated by the Legislature: 
"The executive pillar has been striving to reform itself to serve the country by implementing the policies formulated by the legislatures. This translation of policy intent into programmatic content and ensuring effective delivery of services is a crucial aspect of a functioning democracy. Putting the people at the centre of policy making, making sure that the benefits of democratic functioning reach the marginalized is at the heart of a vibrant democracy. 
Effective dissemination and enforcement of various laws and implementation of people-centric schemes bolsters the foundation of our democracy. The ability to involve the people and make them agents of change qualitatively transform the quality of polity to the next level. In fact, democracy thrives and sustains its relevance and strength only if the people are at the centre of the circle of development."

The Vice President evoked the principles of Mahatma Gandhi of an "oceanic circle" instead of a "hierarchical pyramidal structure" by calling for a devolution of power to local bodies, creating basic infrastructure, improving service delivery, making governance people-friendly, transparent and just. 
JUDICIARY
"The third pillar is the judiciary. It is an important pillar that ensures that the laws of the land are implemented in letter and spirit and a sense of justice and fair play pervades in society. It has the onerous responsibility to interpret laws to ensure that the legislature and the executive adhere to the constitutional framework and enact and implement laws in consonance with the basic tenets of our Constitution."

The Vice President called for a more people-friendly, accessible, credible, equitable and transparently even-handed justice system. He aired his grievances regarding the pendency of cases in various courts. He stated that the Bar and Bench possessed the collective responsibility to take immediate action to reduce heavy pendency as justice delayed is justice denied. 
Additionally, he also remarked that certain category of cases esuch as election petitions, criminal cases against sitting MPs and MLAs, disqualification proceedings under anti-defection law had to be decided in a time-bound manner. "Any delays in justice delivery in such cases erode public confidence in the judicial and legislative bodies
MEDIA AS THE FOURTH PILLAR
The Vice President also stated that Media had emerged as the fourth pillar due to its pervasive presence and unmistakable influence in shaping public opinion. A free and objective media allowed the voiceless to air their issues and was a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. This role had been performed in an able manner by the media, barring during times of the Emergency. 
He also commented on disturbing trends that had risen in recent times: 
"However, with there have been some disturbing trends in recent times with the advent of the internet, commercialization, changes in ownership patterns and "news coloured with views", the spread of fake news, paid news and propaganda. Like all other institutions, media too should have its own mechanism of checks and balances. There has to be a code of ethics that needs be voluntarily adhered to more as an article of faith and as an expression of media's commitment to professionalism."
Incidentally, the Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde had yesterday, at the inauguration ceremony of the new High Court building at Jodhpur, Rajasthan, remarked that justice could not be instant and should never take the form of revenge as it loses its character if it does so. While he acknowledged the lacunae which existed in the judicial system, he stated that self-correcting mechanisms were to be deployed to correct the same.

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