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  India   Speedy, affordable justice not yet fully met: President

Speedy, affordable justice not yet fully met: President

Published : Mar 14, 2016, 1:10 am IST
Updated : Mar 14, 2016, 1:10 am IST

President Pranab Mukherjee and Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur at the inauguration of "150th anniversary" Sesquicentennial Celebrations program of Allahabad High Court in Allahabad. (Photo: PTI)

Pranab Mukherjee.jpg
 Pranab Mukherjee.jpg

President Pranab Mukherjee and Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur at the inauguration of "150th anniversary" Sesquicentennial Celebrations program of Allahabad High Court in Allahabad. (Photo: PTI)

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday urged the Indian judiciary to “ensure speedy and affordable justice for the common man” and, given the three crore cases pending in the nation’s courts, to reduce the pendency of cases.

 

The President noted that while “the Indian judiciary has many strengths, it is yet to fully meet the aspirations of our people for speedy and affordable justice”.

He added: “The judiciary has played an important role since Independence in strengthening the democratic framework of the country and maintaining the rule of law.”

Inaugurating the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Allahabad high court, Mr Mukherjee said justice must be “accessible, affordable and quick”. Speaking at the same event, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said the judiciary was facing “a crisis of credibility” that was a challenge from within, asking judges to be conscientious about their duties. The CJI didn’t mince any words as he said the Bar at times had “not been very cooperative” in the disposal of cases even if judges were ready to put in extra hours.

 

These remarks by the President and CJI come a day after PM Narendra Modi suggested courts could come out with an annual bulletin to highlight the oldest cases tried by them to help sensitise people. Mr Modi was speaking at the Patna high court’s centenary celebrations.

The President said the HCs, in particular, have a unique position under the Constitution as the guar-dians of people’s rights. The HCs must ensure that access to justice was not denied to any citizen due to economic or any other disability, he added.

President Pranab Mukherjee said that the courts were now overburdened with cases. “There are over three crore cases pending in various courts throughout the country. Of these, about 38.5 lakh cases are pending in 24 high courts. The pendency of cases in high courts has slightly declined from 41.5 lakh in 2014 to 38.5 lakh in 2015, but still have a long way to go”, he said.

 

“The judiciary is one of the three important pillars of our democracy and is also the final interpreter of the Constitution, and it must help maintain social order by swiftly and effectively dealing with those on the wrong side of the law”, he said.

The CJI said, meanwhile, that he can assure lawyers that if the Bar cooperates, judges will be ready to sit even on Saturdays to finish old matters, specially relating to those languishing in jail for years. “At times judges feel that the delay in the disposal of cases is only because the Bar does not, at times, cooperate,” he said.

Underlining the glorious history of the Allahabad high court, he said it was a matter of great pride for him that Pandit Motilal Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Kailash Nath Katju, who had left indelible marks in history, belong to his home state Jammu and Kashmir. “Difficult times have been seen by this court. Difficult challenges have also been seen by this court but judges have risen to the occasion. They have discharged their duties fearlessly... But we cannot sleep or rejoice over the laurels of the past only... We have great challenges in future and we need to get ready to meet those challenges. The judiciary as an institution, as we all know, is always under the public gaze and has challenges not only from within but from outside too. Challenges from outside do not disturb us so much. We all face them well but we need to look after and what need to be aware of are challenges from within,” he said.

 

Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad