'Discuss, debate & decide', CJI says no meaning in hiding problems in judiciary
The CJI made the remarks while speaking at the All India District Legal Services Authorities Meet, which had Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest
Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana said the judiciary needs to flag issues which hinder its functioning and there is no meaning in camouflaging or hiding the problems, and also if matters of pressing concern are not addressed, then the system will cripple.
The CJI made the remarks while speaking at the All India District Legal Services Authorities Meet, which had Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest.
"Wherever I go, I always attempt to project the achievements of the Indian judiciary in winning the trust and faith of the people. But if we intend to serve the people better, we need to flag the issues which hinder our functioning. There is no meaning in camouflaging or hiding the problems," he said.
"If we don't discuss these issues, if matters of pressing concern are not addressed, then the system will cripple. I fear, we may be unable to fulfil our constitutional mandate of social justice. I urge you therefore, to discuss, debate and decide! This is the principle I have been following all through".
The Chief Justice said the reality is that, today, only a small percentage of population can approach the justice delivery system, when in need and majority of the people suffer in silence, lacking awareness and necessary means.
"Modern India was built around the goal of removing the disparities in the society. Project democracy is about providing a space for participation of all. Participation will not be possible without social emancipation. Access to Justice is a tool for social emancipation."
CJI Ramana pointed out that the district judiciary is the backbone of the justice delivery system in the world's largest democracy and public opinion about the judiciary is primarily based on their experiences with the district judiciary. "This casts a great responsibility on your shoulders. You must undertake multifaceted tasks and roles. You are best placed to understand people's problems and social issuesa..Strengthening the district judiciary is the need of the hour."
He added that Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was enacted with the objective of reaching the persons at the bottom of the pyramid.
The fact that it is aimed at offering free legal aid to 70 per cent of our population, makes National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) the largest legal aid provider in the world, he said
"I know, the challenges before you are enormous. The issues of conditions of service, remunerations and infrastructure deserve immediate attention. The Supreme Court this week tried to address some of these issues by way of direction for implementation of revised pay benefits".
He added that one of the most important aspects which calls for judiciary's active consideration and intervention is in relation to the condition of undertrials.
"The Prime Minister and the Attorney General have also rightly flagged this issue in the recently held conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices. I am happy to note that NALSA is actively collaborating with all stakeholders in securing much deserved relief for undertrials," the CJI added.