Pointing out that “one of the major challenges to the protection of rule of law and human rights is the inability of the formal justice system to deliver speedy and affordable justice to all”, Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana on Saturday said that the country’s “justice delivery mechanism in India is very complex and expensive”.
The CJI was speaking after laying the foundation stone of a new High Court building complex in Srinagar.
CJI Ramana sought to stress that “for the functioning of a healthy democracy, it is imperative that the people feel that their rights and dignity are protected and recognised”.
He said that solving the problems of infrastructure of the courts “is very close to my heart” and added that “I have consistently emphasized the need for development and modernization of infrastructure”.
“Sadly, post-Independence, judicial infrastructure has not been over-hauled to meet the demands of growing needs of modern India,” the CJI said. He said that the condition of judicial infrastructure across the country is far from satisfactory and courts are operating from rented accommodations and under deplorable conditions.
CJI Ramana lamented that “we are far behind in making our courts inclusive and accessible” and cautioned that “if we don’t attend to this urgently, the Constitutional ideal of access to justice would stand defeated”.
There is also the need for filling up vacancies, he said, adding that 22% of the posts in the district judiciary are still lying vacant. “Steps have to be initiated immediately to fill this gap. Appropriate steps are also required to be taken for providing security and accommodation for all judges,” the CJI added.
Citing poet Raja Basu, the CJI said, “Jammu and Kashmir is the confluence of three great religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam…it is this confluence which is at the heart of our plurality which needs to be sustained and cherished.”