CJI Ramana calls for people-friendly judiciary; says legislature needs to revisit, reform laws

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New Delhi, Sept 25: The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday stressed making the judiciary “people-friendly” and expressed the need for the legislature to revisit the laws and reform them to suit the needs of the time and people.
Speaking at the inauguration of a new building of the Odisha State Legal Services Authority at Cuttack, the CJI said, that the executive and the legislature should function in “unison” to simplify the laws and rules for the common people.
“Between the complex language of the acts and the process of justice delivery, the common man seems to lose control over the fate of his grievance. Often in this trajectory, the justice-seeker feels like an outsider to the system,” CJI Ramana said.
“Although a harsh reality, often our legal system fails to take into consideration the social realities and implications. Sadly, our system is designed in such a way that by the time all the facts and laws are churned in the court of law, much gets lost in the process,” he said.
People might be bringing their problems to the courts, but what remains at the end of the day is yet another “case”, CJI Ramana said.
Chief Justice said that it is a general understanding of the people that it is the court’s responsibility to make laws.
“This notion has to be dispelled. This is where the role of other organs of the state, i.e. the Legislature and the executive assumes great significance,” he said.
He further said, “The legislature needs to revisit the laws and reform them to suit the needs of time and people. I emphasize, 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.”
“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,” added Justice Ramana.
CJI Ramana stated that the concept of ‘Access to Justice’ in India is much broader than simply providing lawyers for representation before the courts and this is where legal services institutions play a role by facilitating access to justice to the poor and marginalized and by increasing legal awareness and legal literacy amongst such classes who have traditionally remained outside the purview of our system.
He also said that the power and strength of any justice-delivery system are 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, he added.
After inaugurating the new building, CJI was told that the Cuttack Bar Association is one of the oldest bar associations in the country dating back to 1859 and he was overwhelmed to be here in this ancient land whose history dates back to more than 2000 years.
CJI Ramana said the challenge of accessing justice gets magnified in States which pose significant hurdles like regional and economic disparity.
“Particularly, in the state of Odisha, as per the last census, around 83.3 per cent of people are living in the rural areas, and are often excluded from the formal justice delivery system, the role of legal service institution assumes great importance,” he said further.
He reiterated that the Indian judicial system is faced with twin challenges: “Indianisation of justice delivery system” and enabling the people to “decode the justice delivery system by raising awareness”.
Last week, the CJI also spoke about the Indianisation of the justice delivery system in an event. Further elaborating the issue, CJI Ramana today said, even after 74 years of independence, traditional and agrarian societies that have been following customary ways of life, still feel hesitant to approach the courts.
“The practices, procedures, language and everything of our courts feel alien to them and between the complex language of the acts and the process of justice delivery, the common man seems to lose control over the fate of his grievance,” said CJI Ramana.
The event was attended by Supreme Court Judges. Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran, and Orissa High Court Chief Justice Dr S Muralidhar.
Justice Murlidhar said the profile of the judiciary is changing. “We have many women officers now across all levels. This is very encouraging,” he added. (Agencies)